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Case Name Huisha-Huisha v. Mayorkas IM-DC-0096
Docket / Court 1:21-cv-00100 ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Immigrant Detention Labor Issues
Attorney Organization ACLU Affiliates (any)
ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project
ACLU National (all projects)
Case Summary
This is a case about immigration policy that restricted refugee and asylee entry into the United States on account of health concerns around the coronavirus pandemic. On January 12, 2021, families of asylum- and refugee-seekers, who were detained by the Department of Homeland Security, sued the U.S ... read more >
This is a case about immigration policy that restricted refugee and asylee entry into the United States on account of health concerns around the coronavirus pandemic. On January 12, 2021, families of asylum- and refugee-seekers, who were detained by the Department of Homeland Security, sued the U.S. federal government for humanitarian protection in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. With the spread of coronavirus, on March 20, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) restricted entry of foreign nationals. Under the alleged authority of Title 42 U.S.C. § 265 (“Title 42 Process”), the federal government contended that it had the power to set aside immigration laws and began to summarily expel asylum-seeking families. This policy was renewed multiple times, including on August 2, 2021. The families alleged violations of the Public Health Service Act, Refugee Act, Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998, Immigration and Nationality Act, and Administrative Procedure Act. On behalf of the more broadly impacted community (the families estimated more than 21,000 individuals had been subject to the HHS order), the families sought class certification. They also sought a declaration that the Title 42 Process as implemented by the government was unlawful, an injunction preventing the government from applying the Title 42 Process to the class, and reasonable attorneys’ fees.

The case was assigned to Emmett G. Sullivan. On September 16, 2021, the court certified the class and granted the preliminary injunction. Huisha-Huisha v. Mayorkas, 2021 WL 4206688. In certifying the class, the court pushed back on the government’s argument that the class had been insufficiently defined. First, the court asserted that as a matter of law, a “vague and ambiguous class definition” was not automatically fatal to a motion for class certification. Moreover, based on the details provided by the plaintiffs, the court found the class definition sufficient in any case. In ruling for the preliminary injunction, the court highlighted why the families were likely to succeed on the merits. The court first noted that the plain text of Title 42 contained no reference to the word “expel” or other synonyms, suggesting that the statute’s use to remove asylee- and refugee-seekers from the U.S. was untenable. The court also analyzed the statutory context and found it indicated that HHS only had limited “quarantine and containment” powers under the Title 42 Process.

The federal government appealed the decision. On September 30, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit granted the government’s motion for a stay of the injunction pending appeal. The case remains ongoing.

Achutha Raman - 10/01/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Supremacy Clause
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
General
International law
Immigration/Border
Admission - procedure
Asylum - procedure
Deportation - procedure
Family
Refugees
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Ex parte Young (federal or state officials)
Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq.
Defendant(s) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Department of Health and Human Services
Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Border Patrol
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Plaintiff Description All noncitizens who (1) are or will be in the United States; (2) come to the United States as a family unit composed of at least one child under 18 years old and that child’s parent or legal guardian; and (3) are or will be subjected to 42 U.S.C. § 265 (the “Title 42” Process), a public health provision, as interpreted by the federal government in 2020
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Affiliates (any)
ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project
ACLU National (all projects)
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Granted
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Filed 01/12/2021
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing IM-DC-0087 : P.J.E.S v. Wolf (D.D.C.)
Additional Resources
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Court Docket(s)
D.D.C.
09/17/2021
1:21-cv-00100-EGS
IM-DC-0096-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
D.D.C.
01/12/2021
Class Action Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
IM-DC-0096-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.D.C.
01/28/2021
First Amended Class Action Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 22]
IM-DC-0096-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.D.C.
09/16/2021
Memorandum Opinion [ECF# 123] (2021 WL 4206688)
IM-DC-0096-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
U.S. Court of Appeals
09/30/2021
Order [Ct. of App. ECF# 1916334]
IM-DC-0096-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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Judges Langer, Mark J Court not on record show/hide docs
IM-DC-0096-0001
Sullivan, Emmet G. (D.D.C.) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0096-0004 | IM-DC-0096-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Cheung, Ming (New York) show/hide docs
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Crook, Jamie L. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Drake, Brantley Shaw (Texas) show/hide docs
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Galindo, Daniel Antonio (New York) show/hide docs
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Garza, Rochelle M (Texas) show/hide docs
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Gelernt, Lee (New York) show/hide docs
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Goodlette, Tamara (Texas) show/hide docs
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Huddleston, Kathryn (Texas) show/hide docs
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Jadwat, Omar C. (New York) show/hide docs
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Kang, Stephen Bonggyun (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Michelman, Scott (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Musalo, Karen (California) show/hide docs
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Perez, Celso Javier (New York) show/hide docs
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Russell, Morgan (California) show/hide docs
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Segura, Andre (Texas) show/hide docs
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Silverman, Robert (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
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Spitzer, Arthur (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Tamir, Irit (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
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Vargas, Karla (Texas) show/hide docs
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Wofsy, Cody H. (California) show/hide docs
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Defendant's Lawyers Tepe, Sean Michael (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Other Lawyers Austin, Kathryn (New York) show/hide docs
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Castillo, Geroline (New York) show/hide docs
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Levine, Noah Adam (New York) show/hide docs
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Tolentino, Raymond Patrick (New York) show/hide docs
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Volchok, Daniel (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Wolfson, Paul R. Q. (Illinois) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0096-9000

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