Litigation

Duran Gonzalez is a Ninth Circuit-wide class action challenging DHS’ refusal to follow Perez-Gonzalez v. Ashcroft, 379 F.3d 783 (9th Cir. 2004). In Perez-Gonzalez, the Ninth Circuit had said that individuals who had been removed or deported could apply for adjustment of status (under INA § 245(i)) along with an accompanying I-212 waiver application. In Duran Gonzales v. DHS, 508 F.3d 1227 (9th Cir. 2007), the Ninth Circuit overturned Perez-Gonzalez, deferring to the BIA’s holding that individuals who have previously been removed or deported are not eligible to apply for adjustment of status. See Matter of Torres-Garcia, 23 I&N Dec. 866 (BIA 2006). The Court subsequently said, however, that some plaintiffs may be able to establish that the new rule should not apply retroactively.
The class-action lawsuit complaint alleges that Tucson Sector Border Patrol holds men, women, and children in freezing, overcrowded, and filthy cells for days at a time in violation of the U.S. Constitution and CBP’s own policies.
By regulation, USCIS must either adjudicate EAD applications within a fixed time period or issue interim employment authorization. Yet, USCIS regularly fails to do either, leaving noncitizens in a precarious position, unable to work legally and at risk of losing their jobs, related benefits and, in some states, their driver’s licenses. Since 2013, AILA has repeatedly tried to address these delays with USCIS. Nonetheless, at a meeting with USCIS headquarters in April 2015, agency representatives indicated that “USCIS no longer produces interim EADs.” Faced with increasing reports from immigration lawyers of EAD adjudication delays, the Council and several partners filed this lawsuit against USCIS and DHS.
In March 2015, the American Immigration Council, in collaboration with the Law Office of Stacy Tolchin, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, filed a class action lawsuit against CBP over its nationwide pattern and practice of failing to timely respond to requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The plaintiffs included both immigration attorneys and individuals, all of whom had FOIA requests pending for over 20 business days.
Valorem, an IT consulting company, petitioned to employ a software developer for three years in H-1B status as part of a project development team at its office. Initially, USCIS denied the petition, but later – after Valorem, represented by AILA member Susan Bond, filed suit – approved it for one year.
On October 21, 2014, the American Immigration Council, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, with co-counsel, the National Immigration Law Center and Jenner & Block LLP, filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act to compel the release of government documents regarding the use of the expedited removal process against families with children, including those detained by DHS in Artesia, New Mexico. The suit was filed in the federal district court for the Southern District of New York.
On August 22, 2014, the American Immigration Council, in collaboration with the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, the National Immigration Law Center, Van Der Hout Brigagliano & Nightingale LLP, and Jenner & Block, filed this lawsuit in the federal district court for the District of Columbia. The case was a systemic challenge to the policies denying a fair deportation process to mothers and children detained in the Artesia Family Residential Center who had fled extreme violence, death threats, rape, and persecution in Central America and come to the United States seeking safety.
On July 9, 2014, the American Immigration Council, with co-counsel American Civil Liberties Union, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Public Counsel, and K&L Gates LLP, filed a lawsuit seeking recognition of a right to appointed counsel for unrepresented children in immigration proceedings nationwide. The complaint charges the U.S. Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Health and Human Services, Executive Office for Immigration Review, and Office of Refugee Resettlement with violating the U.S. Constitution's Fifth Amendment Due Process Clause and the Immigration and Nationality Act’s provisions requiring a “full and fair hearing” before an immigration judge. It seeks to require the government to provide unrepresented children who are unable to pay for attorneys with legal representation in their immigration proceedings.
The American Immigration Council and co-counsel Public Citizen filed a lawsuit on behalf of AILA seeking information about complaints alleging immigration judge misconduct. This suit stems from a November 2012 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request AILA submitted to EOIR asking that the agency disclose complaints against immigration judges and records indicating how the agency has resolved those complaints. EOIR failed to release any documents, prompting the filing of the lawsuit in June 2013.
In March 2013, the American Immigration Council and Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, later joined by the Legal Aid Justice Center, filed a lawsuit alleging that CBP officers at Dulles Airport in Virginia unlawfully detained a U.S. citizen child for more than twenty hours, deprived her of contact with her parents, and then effectively deported her to Guatemala. The case was one of ten complaints filed the same week to highlight CBP abuses along the northern and southern borders.
In June 2012, the American Immigration Council, in collaboration with Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, filed suit against DHS and CBP for unlawfully withholding records concerning voluntary returns of noncitizens from the United States to their countries of origin. Voluntary return, also known as “administrative voluntary departure,” is a procedure whereby CBP officers permit noncitizens to voluntarily depart the United States at their own expense rather than undergoing formal removal proceedings. Noncitizens may be granted voluntary return to their countries of origin after conceding unlawful presence in the United States and knowingly and voluntarily waiving the right to contest removal.
The American Immigration Council, with co-counsel Dorsey & Whitney LLP, filed three lawsuits against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to compel the release of records relating to noncitizens’ access to counsel. The Council initially pursued disclosure of these records through FOIA requests filed in March 2011. Despite the importance of counsel to immigrants appearing before DHS, the thousands of immigrants who are required to appear at agency examinations or proceedings every year may face barriers to accessing counsel. Federal law clearly provides a right to legal representation in many proceedings before DHS, but that right is often unrecognized, restricted, or denied.
Co-Plaintiffs American Immigration Council and AILA’s Connecticut chapter initially sought records related to the Criminal Alien Program (CAP) through a FOIA request to ICE in December 2011. When ICE refused to release responsive records, Plaintiffs filed suit under FOIA to compel their disclosure.
The complaint, co-filed with the Northwest Immigrants Rights Project, Gibbs Houston Pauw, and the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, was submitted on behalf of untold numbers of asylum applicants wrongfully denied work authorization due to unlawful agency policies and practices. The named plaintiffs include asylum seekers who have pursued their cases for years without work authorization.
The American Immigration Council, with co-counsel Dorsey & Whitney LLP, filed three lawsuits against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to compel the release of records relating to noncitizens’ access to counsel. The Council initially pursued disclosure of these records through FOIA requests filed in March 2011. Despite the importance of counsel to immigrants appearing before DHS, the thousands of immigrants who are required to appear at agency examinations or proceedings every year may face barriers to accessing counsel. Federal law clearly provides a right to legal representation in many proceedings before DHS, but that right is often unrecognized, restricted, or denied. The American Immigration Council, with co-counsel Dorsey & Whitney LLP, filed three lawsuits against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to compel the release of records relating to noncitizens’ access to counsel.
The American Immigration Council, with co-counsel Dorsey & Whitney LLP, filed three lawsuits against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to compel the release of records relating to noncitizens’ access to counsel. The Council initially pursued disclosure of these records through FOIA requests filed in March 2011. Despite the importance of counsel to immigrants appearing before DHS, the thousands of immigrants who are required to appear at agency examinations or proceedings every year may face barriers to accessing counsel. Federal law clearly provides a right to legal representation in many proceedings before DHS, but that right is often unrecognized, restricted, or denied.
On behalf of AILA, the American Immigration Council, in cooperation with counsel at Steptoe & Johnson LLP, filed a FOIA lawsuit against DHS and USCIS in July 2010 seeking the public release of records concerning agency policies and procedures related to fraud investigations in the H-1B program.
On July 17, 2007, the American Immigration Council was poised to file a lawsuit alleging that the federal government’s refusal to accept tens of thousands of applications for green cards (and discouragement of thousands of other workers from even applying) violated federal statutes, regulations and policies, as well as the U.S. Constitution. Many of these applicants had waited in line for years and were following the government’s rules to obtain a green card. The suit would have argued that the government must comply with its own regulations and policies and accept these adjustment of status (“green card”) applications.

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