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Case Name Texas & Missouri v. United States IM-TX-0059
Docket / Court 2:21-cv-00067 ( N.D. Tex. )
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Case Summary
This is a case about the Biden Administration's termination of the Trump-era "Remain in Mexico" policy, Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), which required individuals at the U.S.-Mexico border to wait in Mexico pending adjudication of their immigration claims. On President Biden's first day in ... read more >
This is a case about the Biden Administration's termination of the Trump-era "Remain in Mexico" policy, Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), which required individuals at the U.S.-Mexico border to wait in Mexico pending adjudication of their immigration claims. On President Biden's first day in office, January 20, 2021, the federal government suspended new enrollments in the program, functionally suspending MPP. A few months later, on April 13, 2021, the states of Texas and Missouri filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. The plaintiffs sued President Biden, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as attorneys' fees.

The plaintiffs claimed that the suspension of MPP was "arbitrary and capricious" under the APA because DHS had released only a two-sentence memo with no reasoning for the suspension. In addition, they claimed that DHS had failed to consider states' reliance on MPP or alternative approaches. The plaintiffs also brought claims under the INA, arguing that the suspension of MPP violated 8 U.S.C. § 1225 because it stripped the federal government's ability to detain or return aliens pending removal proceedings. Lastly, the plaintiffs claimed that this failure to execute the Section 1225 violated the Take Care Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The case was assigned to Judge Matthew Joseph Kacsmaryk.

On May 3, 2021, the federal government moved to transfer this case to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, arguing that it would be a more appropriate venue because it was closer to the U.S.-Mexico border. The district court denied the a month later, finding that this case was more about "a nationwide policy with nationwide effect" rather than turning on evidence more specific to the border.

The plaintiffs moved for a preliminary injunction on May 14, 2021. However, before briefing had concluded, DHS completed its review of MPP and permanently terminated the program on June 1 in a new memo. The district court concluded that this rendered the original complaint moot, and the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on June 3, 2021, that sought to enjoin the June 1 termination rather than the January 20 suspension. The district court denied the original motion for a preliminary injunction as moot on June 7, and the plaintiffs filed a new motion the next day. On June 29, 2021, the parties and court agreed to consolidate the motion for a preliminary injunction with deciding the case on the merits.

On August 13, 2021, the district court held for the plaintiffs and ordered a permanent injunction. It vacated the June 1 memo, remanding it to DHS, and enjoined the implementation or enforcement of the June 1 memo. It also ordered the federal government to implement and enforce MPP in good faith. In its reasoning, the district court found that DHS had failed to consider "several critical factors," including the benefits of MPP in deterring meritless asylum applications and the warnings that suspending MPP would "lead to a resurgence of illegal aliens" crossing the border. The district court found that DHS's reasoning for terminating MPP was without merit, explaining how the DHS Secretary's logic was not persuasive. The district court also held that the termination violated 8 U.S.C. § 1225 because, without MPP, the federal government's only option under Section 1225 was mandatory detention, DHS had admitted it did not have the capacity to meet those detention obligations. The district court declined to rule on the Take Care Clause claim because it had already granted full relief regarding the plaintiff's other claims. _ F.Supp.3d. _, 2021 WL 3603341

The injunction was granted on a nationwide basis, and set to start September 15, 2021. The federal government was required to file monthly reports on the number of encounters at the border, the number of aliens expelled, the total detention capacity and usage rate, and the number of applicants for admission under Section 1225. Id.

The federal government appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals three days later, on August 16, 2021. It also moved to stay the district court's judgment pending appeal, but the district court denied the motion the next day. The federal government once again went to the Fifth Circuit, this time to request a stay.

On August 19, 2021, the Fifth Circuit denied the federal government's motion for a stay pending appeal. In its per curiam opinion, the Fifth Circuit held that the federal government failed to satisfy the four stay factors from Nken v. Holder, 556 U.S. 418 (2009). First, the court thought that the federal government was not likely to succeed on the merits, finding the government's standing and justiciability arguments unpersuasive. Second, the federal government would not be irreparably injured in the absence of a stay. Because the district court had ordered that MPP be implemented "in good faith," the Fifth Circuit held that the injunction did not impose an unreasonably high burden. Third, other interested parties would be irreparably injured by a stay, namely the states found by the district court to be suffering from the termination of MPP. And fourth, the public interest would be in having governmental agencies abide by laws that govern their existence, meaning that the federal government should comply with Section 1225. _ F.4th _, 2021 WL 3674780.

The next day, August 20, 2021, the federal government applied to the U.S. Supreme Court for a stay. On August 24, 2021, the Supreme Court denied a stay, holding that the federal government had failed to show a likelihood of success on the claim that terminating MPP was not "arbitrary and capricious." _ S. Ct. _, 2021 WL 3732667. Justices Breyer, Kagan, and Sotomayor recorded dissents, without opinion.

This case is ongoing.

Lauren Yu - 08/26/2021


compress summary

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Monitoring
Reporting
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Immigration/Border
Admission - procedure
Asylum - procedure
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) President of the United States of America
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 Missouri
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 2021 - n/a
Filed 04/13/2021
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  Biden v. Texas
SCOTUSBlog
Date: Aug. 24, 2021
By: SCOTUSBlog
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
N.D. Tex.
08/23/2021
2:21-cv-00067-Z
IM-TX-0059-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
N.D. Tex.
04/13/2021
Complaint [ECF# 1]
IM-TX-0059-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Tex.
06/03/2021
Order [ECF# 47]
IM-TX-0059-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Tex.
06/03/2021
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 48]
IM-TX-0059-0005.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Tex.
08/13/2021
Memorandum Opinion and Order [ECF# 94] (2021 WL 3603341)
IM-TX-0059-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
U.S. Court of Appeals
08/19/2021
Opinion (2021 WL 3674780)
IM-TX-0059-0001.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: Westlaw
show all people docs
Judges Elrod, Jennifer Walker (Fifth Circuit) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0059-0001
Kacsmaryk, Matthew Joseph (N.D. Tex.) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0059-0004 | IM-TX-0059-0006 | IM-TX-0059-9000
Oldham, Andrew Stephen (Fifth Circuit) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0059-0001
Wilson, Charles R. (M.D. Fla., Eleventh Circuit) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0059-0001
Plaintiff's Lawyers Osete, Jesus (Missouri) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0059-0003 | IM-TX-0059-9000
Paxton, Ken (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0059-0003 | IM-TX-0059-0005
Sauer, Dean John (Missouri) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0059-0003 | IM-TX-0059-0005 | IM-TX-0059-9000
Schmitt, Eric (Missouri) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0059-0003 | IM-TX-0059-0005
Stone, Judd E (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0059-0003 | IM-TX-0059-0005
Sweeten, Patrick Kinney (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0059-0003 | IM-TX-0059-0005 | IM-TX-0059-9000
Talent, Michael E (Missouri) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0059-0003
Thompson, William Thomas (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0059-0003 | IM-TX-0059-0005 | IM-TX-0059-9000
Walters, Ryan Daniel (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0059-0005 | IM-TX-0059-9000
Webster, Brent (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0059-0003 | IM-TX-0059-0005
Defendant's Lawyers Darrow, Joseph A. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0059-9000
Genova, Francesca (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0059-9000
Reuveni, Erez (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0059-9000
Stoltz, Brian Walters (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0059-9000
Ward, Brian Christopher (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0059-9000

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