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Case Name Texas v. United States IM-TX-0058
Docket / Court 6:21-cv-00016 ( S.D. Tex. )
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Case Summary
This is a case challenging the Biden Administration's efforts to use systemic prosecutorial discretion in immigration enforcement. On April 6, 2021, the states of Texas and Louisiana filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. The plaintiffs sued the ... read more >
This is a case challenging the Biden Administration's efforts to use systemic prosecutorial discretion in immigration enforcement. On April 6, 2021, the states of Texas and Louisiana filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. The plaintiffs sued the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as attorneys' fees. The case was assigned to Judge Drew B. Tipton.

The plaintiffs claimed the Biden Administration released guidance in two memoranda that unlawfully limited holding immigrants convicted of felony offenses in ICE custody, violating the INA (8 U.S.C. §§ 1226(c), 1231(a)(2)), APA, and the U.S. Constitution. Federal law required that they should be taken into ICE custody, but the guidance sought to focus on immigrants who specifically posed a national security, border security, or public safety risk.

On April 27, 2021, the plaintiffs moved for a preliminary injunction.

The federal government moved to consolidate the case with Coe v. Biden (No. 3:21-cv-00168) on July 12, 2021. Coe was a case that made similar claims filed in a different division of the Southern District of Texas. The court denied the motion on July 26, explainint: The two cases had different parties and counsel; the U.S. President was a defendant in Coe but not in this case, and the plaintiffs in Coe included local sheriffs rather than two states. This case requested an injunction to two memoranda released by the Biden Administration, as opposed to Coe's one. The different cases' requested injunctions also had different scopes. Consolidating the cases would also cause delays in this case because of how much later Coe was filed, and the court did not think that consolidation would lead to more efficiency given the differences.

On August 19, 2021, Judge Tipton granted the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction. The court found that the plaintiffs had demonstrated a substantial likelihood that certain sections of the Biden Administration's memoranda would direct officials to act contrary to the APA, and enjoined those specific sections. The court also ordered the federal government to inform the court by September 3, 2021, of the guidance, protocols, or standards used to control the detention of aliens covered by 8 U.S.C. §§ 1226(c), 1231(a)(2), in light of the preliminary injunction. Starting September 5th, the federal government also had to file a monthly report on the aliens that were released from custody and not detained immediately by ICE following release.

The day after the court's order, the federal government moved to stay the preliminary injunction and appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, also filing a motion in the Fifth Circuit seeking a stay of the injunction or, in the alternative a 7-day administrative stay to allow the government time to seek a stay in the Supreme Court. On August 25, 2021, the Court of Appeals granted an indefinite administrative stay "until further order of this Court."

After hearing oral argument on September 8, 2021, a panel of the Fifth Circuit consisting of Circuit Judges Leslie H. Southwick, James E. Graves, Jr., and Gregg J. Costa partially granted the federal government's request for a stay in a September 15 opinion. __ F.4th __. Noting that the government has broad prosecutorial discretion in immigration cases, as well as criminal cases, the Fifth Circuit Judges found that the administration was likely to succeed on the merits in this case and stayed Judge Tipton's order to the extent it prevented the new administration from exercising its prosecutorial discretion about how to begin removal proceedings against. However, it agreed with Judge Tipton that 8 U.S.C. §§ 1226(c) and1231(a)(2) mandated the detention of certain kinds of immigrants and that Biden Administration's memoranda could not justify the release of people detained under those authorities.

The case remains ongoing.

Lauren Yu - 08/22/2021
Jonah Hudson-Erdman - 09/15/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Reporting
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Immigration/Border
Detention - procedures
Plaintiff Type
State Plaintiff
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq.
Defendant(s) U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Plaintiff Description Texas and Louisiana
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 2021 - n/a
Filed 04/06/2021
Case Ongoing Yes
Court Docket(s)
S.D. Tex.
09/15/2021
6:21-cv-00016
IM-TX-0058-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
S.D. Tex.
04/06/2021
Complaint [ECF# 1]
IM-TX-0058-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Tex.
07/26/2021
Order [ECF# 75] (2021 WL 3171958)
IM-TX-0058-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Tex.
08/19/2021
Memorandum Opinion and Order [ECF# 79]
IM-TX-0058-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
U.S. Court of Appeals
08/23/2021
Emergency Motion Under Circuit Rule 27.3 for a Stay Pending Appeal [Ct. of App. ECF# 00515990757]
IM-TX-0058-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
U.S. Court of Appeals
09/15/2021
Opinion [Ct. of App. ECF# 00516015057]
IM-TX-0058-0005.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Costa, Gregg Jeffrey (S.D. Tex., Fifth Circuit) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0058-0005
Tipton, Drew Barnett (S.D. Tex.) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0058-0002 | IM-TX-0058-0003 | IM-TX-0058-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Murrill, Elizabeth Baker (Louisiana) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0058-0001 | IM-TX-0058-9000
St. John, Joseph S (Louisiana) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0058-0001 | IM-TX-0058-9000
Sweeten, Patrick Kinney (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0058-0001 | IM-TX-0058-9000
Thompson, William Thomas (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0058-0001 | IM-TX-0058-9000
Walters, Ryan Daniel (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0058-0001 | IM-TX-0058-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Boynton, Brian M (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0058-0004
Byron, H. Thomas III (New York) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0058-0004
Cholera, Kuntal (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0058-9000
Harrington, Sarah E. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0058-0004
Hu, Daniel David (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0058-9000
Janda, Sean (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0058-0004
Kirschner, Adam D. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0058-9000
Knapp, Michael Fraser (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0058-9000
Lowery, Jennifer B (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0058-0004
Paxton, Ken (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0058-0001
Rosen-Shaud, Brian C (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0058-9000
Shih, Michael (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0058-0004
Webster, Brent (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0058-0001
Other Lawyers Amdur, Spencer E. W. (California) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0058-9000
Crapo, Matt A (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0058-9000
Huddleston, Kathryn (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0058-9000
Zimolong, Walter S (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0058-9000

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