University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Capital Area Immigrants' Rights (CAIR) Coalition v. Trump; I.A. v. Barr IM-DC-0063
Docket / Court 1:19-cv-02117 ( D.D.C. )
Additional Docket(s) 1:19-cv-02530  [ 19-2530 ]  District of DC (U.S.)
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection Trump Immigration Enforcement Order Challenges
Attorney Organization Human Rights First
Case Summary
This Clearinghouse entry describes two consolidated lawsuits challenging the Trump Administration's new asylum rule, which reversed longstanding asylum laws that allow individuals to seek asylum in the U.S. regardless of how they arrive in the country. The first one was filed in July 2019 by ... read more >
This Clearinghouse entry describes two consolidated lawsuits challenging the Trump Administration's new asylum rule, which reversed longstanding asylum laws that allow individuals to seek asylum in the U.S. regardless of how they arrive in the country. The first one was filed in July 2019 by Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition (CAIR) and Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), represented by Human Rights First and private counsel; the second was filed in August 2019 by eight asylum seekers and the Tahirih Justice Center, represented by the ACLU Immigrant Rights Project. They were immediately consolidated and adjudication covered both together.

The first case was filed on July 16, 2019 by two immigrant advocacy organizations, Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition (CAIR) and Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES). Proceeding in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the plaintiffs sued President Trump, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants violated federal law and the Fifth Amendment by issuing an interim final rule barring asylum eligibility for individuals entering the U.S. via the southern border without first applying for protection in a third country through which they had traveled. The plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief under the Declaratory Judgment Act, the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), and the Mandamus Act. The case was assigned to Judge Timothy J. Kelly.

In their complaint, the plaintiffs emphasized that the defendants’ rule was promulgated absent a notice-and-comment period (in violation of the APA, they argued) and would deny asylum seekers access to the asylum procedures to which they are entitled under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Specifically, the rule would create an assumption of ineligibility for asylum for all individuals entering the U.S. via the southern border after transiting through a third country, unless the individual can demonstrate that they applied for and were denied protection in a third country, or that they are a “victim of a severe form of trafficking in persons." The plaintiffs alleged that the rule was intentionally crafted to strip asylum eligibility from migrants fleeing persecution and violence across the southern border--namely, women, children, and other vulnerable populations. As organizations that provide services to asylum seekers, the plaintiffs claimed that the rule posed irreparable harm to their organizational missions.

On July 24, 2019, Judge Kelly made an oral ruling on the plaintiffs’ motion for a temporary restraining order. Finding that the plaintiffs failed to meet the irreparable harm requirement, Judge Kelly denied the plaintiffs’ motion. 2019 WL 3436501.

On the same day, in East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Barr, another case challenging the government’s new asylum rule, Judge Jon S. Tigar of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction, enjoining the rule nationwide. 385 F.Supp.3d 922. After some back-and-forth litigation, the Supreme Court stayed the injunction. 140 S.Ct. 3. Details of that ongoing case can be found here.

Meanwhile, in the present case, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on August 18, 2019. The amended complaint added individual plaintiffs ineligible for asylum under the rule, as well as the organization Human Rights First.

The parties also had agreed to hold the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction in abeyance while the injunction entered in East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Barr remained in effect. However, once that injunction was stayed by the Supreme Court, the parties requested that the district court treat their briefs concerning the plaintiffs' motions for preliminary injunction as briefs in support of cross-motions for summary judgment. The district court heard oral argument on the motions on November 7, 2019.

On June 30, 2020, Judge Kelley granted plaintiffs’ motions for summary judgment, denied defendants’ cross-motions for summary judgment and vacated the interim rule. 2020 WL 3542481. In his opinion, Judge Kelley held that the defendants failed to comply with the Administrative Procedure Act’s notice-and-comment requirements and did not qualify for “good cause” or “foreign affairs function” exceptions to that requirement. Judge Kelley emphasized that the evidence the defendants’ relied on was exceedingly thin: “a single newspaper article that [did] not even directly address the key predictive judgment in question.” The defendants appealed the decision to the D.C. Court of Appeals.

Although the Interim final rule was vacated, it was superseded by a Final Rule issued through the notice-and-comment procedure with an effective date of January 19, 2021. 8 C.F.R. § 1208. Unless there additional litigation or the stay is lifted in East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Barr, the Final Rule would have the same effect as the Interim Rule that Judge Kelley vacated—in order for immigrants traveling through a third country en route to the United States to be granted asylum in the United States, they must demonstrate that they applied for protection from that third country and were denied.

As of December 22, 2020, the case remains ongoing.

Sam Kulhanek - 02/26/2020
Becca Rogers - 12/22/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Immigration/Border
Asylum - criteria
Asylum - procedure
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq.
Mandamus, 28 U.S.C. § 1361
Defendant(s) U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Justice
Plaintiff Description Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition, Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, Inc., Human Rights First, and individuals ineligible for asylum.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Human Rights First
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Filed 07/16/2019
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing IM-CA-0146 : East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Barr (N.D. Cal.)
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Asylum Eligibility and Procedural Modifications
https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2020-12-17/pdf/2020-27856.pdf
Date: Dec. 17, 2020
By: Chad R. Mizelle (U.S. Department of Homeland Security)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  CAIR Coalition v. Trump: A Case Summary
Human Rights First
Date: August 28, 2019
By: Human Rights First
Citation: Human Rights First
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Re: Implementing the President's Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements Policies (Final, 2/20/2017)
dhs.gov
Date: Feb. 20, 2017
By: DHS Secretary John Kelly (United States Department of Homeland Security)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Re: Enforcement of the Immigration Laws to Serve the National Interest (Final, 2/20/2017)
dhs.gov
Date: Feb. 20, 2017
By: DHS Secretary John Kelly (United States Department of Homeland Security)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Executive Order 13767: Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements
Federal Register
Date: Jan. 27, 2017
By: President Donald Trump (Office of the President)
Citation: 82 Fed. Reg. Presidential Documents 8793 (Jan. 27, 2017)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ]

  Executive Order 13768: Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States
Federal Register
Date: Jan. 25, 2017
By: President Donald Trump (Office of the President)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
D.D.C.
09/02/2020
1:19−cv−02117
IM-DC-0063-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
D.D.C.
07/16/2019
Complaint for Declaratory Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
IM-DC-0063-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.D.C.
07/24/2019
Transcript of Oral Ruling Held Before the Honorable Timothy J. Kelly United States District Judge [ECF# 28] (2019 WL 3436501)
IM-DC-0063-0001.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.D.C.
08/18/2019
Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 37]
IM-DC-0063-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.D.C.
06/30/2020
Order [ECF# 71]
IM-DC-0063-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.D.C.
06/30/2020
Memorandum Opinion [ECF# 72] (471 F.Supp.3d 25)
IM-DC-0063-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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Judges Kelly, Timothy James (D.D.C.) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0063-0001 | IM-DC-0063-0004 | IM-DC-0063-0005 | IM-DC-0063-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Appelbaum, Adina Bassim (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0063-0002 | IM-DC-0063-0003
Bernick, Justin W. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Briggs, Heather A (Virginia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0063-0002
Govindaiah, Manoj (Texas) show/hide docs
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Hagerty, Elizabeth (Colorado) show/hide docs
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Hennadige, Mohan Warusha (New York) show/hide docs
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Hoover, Craig Alan (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Katyal, Neal Kumar (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Reich, Mitchell P. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Schmidt, Thomas P. (New York) show/hide docs
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Stottlemyer, Patricia (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Vieux, Hardy (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Welborn, Kaitlin (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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West, Michael J (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Weymouth, Theodore Clark (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Defendant's Lawyers Bingham, Lauren Crowell (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Reuveni, Erez (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Other Lawyers Joseph, Lawrence J (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Lamb, Kevin M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Raffman, Mark S (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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