Elshieky v. United States, No. 2:20-cv-00064 (E.D. Wash.)
Suit against Border Patrol under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) for misconduct at the Spokane Intermodal Station. Mohanad Elshieky filed a complaint in federal district court after Border Patrol officers pulled him off of a bus during a layover. Mr. Elshieky, who had previously been granted asylum in the United States in 2018, was detained by Border Patrol officers even after producing valid identification documents demonstrating that he was lawfully present in the United States.
The complaint was filed in federal district court in February 2020, and the parties agreed to a settlement in March 2021 and an award of damages to the plaintiff.
Motion to Dismiss
Opposition to Motion to Dismiss
Order Denying Motion to Dismiss
Vangala, et al., v. USCIS and DHS, No. 3:20-cv-08143 (N.D. Cal.)
Challenge to USCIS's policy and practice of rejecting certain
immigration applications on the basis of nothing more than spaces left
blank on the application forms. This new policy reflected a monumental
shift in adjudication standards, enacted by USCIS without notice to
the public. As a result, USCIS rejected thousands of applications,
resulting in lost deadlines for some of the most vulnerable
immigrants, including asylum applicants and survivors of serious
In response to the Vangala lawsuit, USCIS agreed to stop applying the
rejection policy to asylum and U visa applications filed on or after
December 23, 2020, while the parties engage in settlement
Motion for Class Certification
Vangala FAQ and Updated USCIS Guidance
Nightingale, et al., v. USCIS, et al., 19-cv-03512-WHO (N.D. Cal.)
Class action under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) challenging
the systematic delay by USCIS and ICE to respond to requests for
immigration files (often referred to as A-Files). Those files are
needed by immigrants to defend themselves in removal proceedings and
to move forward with their applications for immigration benefits. The
FOIA statute requires the government to respond within 20 days and yet
immigrants are systematically forced to wait for several months before
the government responds.
On October 15, 2019, the district court certified two nationwide
classes challenging both USCIS and ICE’s failure to timely submit
responses to FOIA requests for A-files. On December 17, 2020, the court ruled on summary judgment in plaintiffs' favor, granting injunctive and declaratory relief and ordering defendants to make determinations on all FOIA requests in USCIS's and ICE's backlogs within 60 days.
Order Granting Summary Judgment
Second Compliance Report
Motion for Summary Judgment
Order Granting Class Certification
Rosario, et al., v. USCIS, et al., No. 2:15-cv-00813-JLR (W.D. Wash.),
appeal pending, NWIRP v. USCIS, No. 18-35806 (9th Cir.)
Challenges delays in adjudication of employment authorization
documents (EADs) for certain asylum applicants. On July 18, 2017, the
court certified a nationwide class of asylum applicants whose pending
applications for their initial EADs were not adjudicated within the
required 30-day regulatory timeframe and who did not receive interim
employment authorization. The court granted the government’s motion to
dismiss the claims of the named plaintiffs whose EAD applications were
subject to the 90-day regulatory timeframe, concluding that DHS’s
amended EAD regulations, which went into effect on January 17, 2017,
rendered those claims moot. The case has moved forward with the 30-day
Following summary judgment briefing by both parties, the court ruled in Plaintiffs’ favor on July 26, 2018. The court ordered USCIS to follow the law and timely adjudicate initial EAD asylum applications. While the government initially appealed that decision, it ultimately sought dismissal of the appeal, leaving the court's order in place.
Amended Motion for Class Certification
Order on Motion to Dismiss and Class Certification
Plaintiffs' Third Motion for Class Certification
Second Order on Motion to Dismiss and Class Certification
Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment
Order on Cross Motions for Summary Judgment
Practice Advisory and FAQ - Updated March 2021
Mendoza Garcia v. Okanogan County, et al., No. 2:19-cv-00340 (E.D.
Individual § 1983 claim seeking damages and declaratory relief against
Okanogan County, the Okanogan County Sheriff's Office, and the
Okanagan County Department of Corrections for unlawfully holding Ms.
Mendoza Garcia for two days after she was ordered to be released on
her own recognizance from the Okanogan County Jail. The county kept
Ms. Mendoza Garcia in custody solely on the basis of an administrative
immigration detainer from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP),
which does not afford the county legal authority to hold someone.
In March 2020, the parties reached a settlement agreement with an award of damages to the plaintiff.
Moreno Galvez, et al., 2:19-cv-321 (W.D. Wash.)
Class action on behalf of petitioners for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) challenging USCIS's new and unlawful policy of denying SIJS for youth who obtained the necessary state court orders after they turned 18. The new policy violates the controlling statute by refusing to honor state court SIJS orders issued to youth after they turned 18 but before they turned 21. The Immigration and Nationality Act makes clear that any unmarried youth under 21 years of age is eligible to apply for SIJS if a state court makes findings that the youth is unable to be reunited with one or both parents because they have been abandoned, abused, or neglected, and that it is not in the youth's best interest to return to their country of origin.
After oral arguments in July 2019, Judge Robert S. Lasnik granted Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification and Motion for Preliminary Injunction. The government was enjoined from denying SIJS on the grounds that a Washington state court does not have authority to "reunify" a child with their parent, and was also enjoined from initiating removal proceedings against or removing any SIJS petitioner whose petition was denied on those grounds.
The court granted plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment and request for permanent injunctive relief in October 2020. USCIS appealed the summary judgment decision to the Ninth Circuit, and briefing on the appeal is in progress.
Motion for Class Certification
Motion for Preliminary Injuctive Relief
Motion for Summary Judgment
Order Granting Class Certification
Order Granting Motion for Preliminary Injunctive Relief
Order Granting Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment
Ninth Circuit Opening Brief
Padilla v. ICE, et al., 2:18-cv-928 (W.D. Wash.)
Class-action lawsuit challenging delays in process for asylum seekers.
The case seeks to shorten the length of time asylum seekers are
detained, since they are currently forced to wait in detention for
weeks and in many cases months for credible fear interviews and bond
Plaintiffs' motion for class certification
Second amended complaint
Amended motion for class certification
Plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction
Defendants' opposition to the motion for preliminary injunction
Plaintiffs' reply in support of the motion for preliminary
Order dismissing APA claims and partially denying Defendants'
motion to dismiss
Order granting class certification
Order granting preliminary injunction
In March of 2019, the court granted nationwide class certification for
both the credible fear interview class and the bond hearing class, and
in April, the court granted plaintiffs' motion for preliminary
injunction. On April 16, 2019, the Attorney General issued a Board of
Immigration Appeals decision in Matter of M-S- which sought to
eliminate bond hearings altogether for class members. Plaintiffs filed
a third amended complaint and a motion to modify the existing
preliminary injunction, and defendants moved to vacate the preliminary
injunction. On July 2, Judge Pechman upheld the modification of the
preliminary injunction and denied defendants' motion. Defendants
appealed the court's order, and parties are currently engaged in
briefing at the Ninth Circuit. Bond hearings without procedural
protections were restored to class members.
Third amended complaint filed
Plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction modification
Defendants opposition to plaintiffs' motion to modify preliminary
Ninth Circuit Court order
Order on motions regarding preliminary injunction
Order on class certification
Ninth Circuit brief for apellants
plaintiffs answering brief
The attorneys on the Padilla litigation team have created these
Frequently Asked Questions documents in English and Spanish for
individuals who may potentially be affected by updates in the case, as
well as for for practitioners representing those individuals.
Padilla FAQ, English
Preguntas Frecuentes, Español
Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, et al., v. USCIS, et al.,
15-cv-0813 (W.D. Wash.)
Class action challenge to government’s failure to provide interim
employment authorization for asylum applicants and for other
applications where USCIS delays in resolving underlying applications.
On July 26, 2018, in a national class action, the U.S. District Court
for the Western District of Washington ruled that the U.S. Citizenship
and Immigration Services (USCIS) must adjudicate asylum applicants’
initial (first time) applications for employment authorization
documents (EADs) within 30 days. USCIS is currently required to follow
the Judge's decision, but has appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of
Appeals. Details regarding this case and how to obtain benefits under
it are described in more detail in
this practice advisory.