408 F.Supp.3d 1057 (N.D.Cal. 2019), 19-cv-04717-PJH, City and County of San Francisco v. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Docket NºNos. 19-cv-04717-PJH, 19-cv-04975-PJH, 19-cv-04980-PJH
Citation408 F.Supp.3d 1057
Opinion JudgePHYLLIS J. HAMILTON, United States District Judge
Party NameCITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO, et al., Plaintiffs, v. U.S. CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES, et al., Defendants. State of California, et al., Plaintiffs, v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, et al., Defendants. La Clinica De La Raza, et al., Plaintiffs, v. Donald J. Trump, et al., Defendants.
AttorneyAlvaro Moises Huerta, Linton Joaquin, Mayra Beatriz Joachin, Nicholas David Espiritu, National Immigration Law Center, Antionette Deshun Dozier, David Michael Kane, Robert Dexter Newman, Jr., Western Center on Law and Poverty, Laboni Amena Hoq, Asian Pacific American Legal Center, Michelle Young ...
Case DateOctober 11, 2019
CourtUnited States District Courts, 9th Circuit, United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California

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408 F.Supp.3d 1057 (N.D.Cal. 2019)

CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO, et al., Plaintiffs,

v.

U.S. CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES, et al., Defendants.

State of California, et al., Plaintiffs,

v.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, et al., Defendants.

La Clinica De La Raza, et al., Plaintiffs,

v.

Donald J. Trump, et al., Defendants.

Nos. 19-cv-04717-PJH, 19-cv-04975-PJH, 19-cv-04980-PJH

United States District Court, N.D. California

October 11, 2019

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Alvaro Moises Huerta, Linton Joaquin, Mayra Beatriz Joachin, Nicholas David Espiritu, National Immigration Law Center, Antionette Deshun Dozier, David Michael Kane, Robert Dexter Newman, Jr., Western Center on Law and Poverty, Laboni Amena Hoq, Asian Pacific American Legal Center, Michelle Young Cho, Yanin Senachai, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Los Angeles, CA, Joanna Elise Cuevas Ingram, National Immigration Law Center, Brooklyn, NY, Kevin Lee Herrera, Pro Hac Vice, National Immigration Law Center, Chicago, IL, Martha Jane Perkins, National Health Law Program, Inc., Carrboro, NC, Max Samuel Wolson, National Immigration Law Center, Washington, DC, Tanya Broder, National Immigration Law Center, Berkeley, CA, for Plaintiffs.

Joshua Michael Kolsky, Eric Joseph Soskin, Ethan Price Davis, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC, for Defendants.

Related Cases

PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION

PHYLLIS J. HAMILTON, United States District Judge

This order concerns three motions for a preliminary injunction filed in three related actions. Each of the plaintiffs in those actions moved for preliminary injunctive relief. The motions came on for hearing before this court on October 2, 2019.c

Plaintiff the City and County of San Francisco ("San Francisco") appeared through its counsel, Matthew Goldberg, Sara Eisenberg, and Yvonne Mere. Plaintiff the County of Santa Clara ("Santa Clara" and together with San Francisco, the "Counties") appeared through its counsel, Ravi Rajendra, Laura Trice, and Luke Edwards. Plaintiffs the State of California, District of Columbia, State of Maine, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and State of Oregon (together, including D.C., the "States") appeared through their counsel, Anna Rich, Lisa Cisneros, and Brenda Ayon Verduzco. Plaintiffs La Clinica De La Raza and California Primary Care Association (the two together are the "Healthcare Organizations"), Maternal and Child Health Access, Farmworker Justice, Council on American Islamic Relations-California, African Communities Together, Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County, Central American Resource Center, and Korean Resource Center (the "Legal Organizations") (the Legal Organizations and the Healthcare Organizations together are the "Organizations") appeared through their counsel, Alvaro Huerta, Nicholas Espiritu, Joanna Cuevas Ingram, Kevin Herrera, Tanya Broder, Max Wolsen, and Mayra Joachin.

Defendants U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS"), Department of Homeland Security ("DHS"), Kevin McAleenen as Acting Secretary of DHS,

Page 1073

Kenneth T. Cuccinelli as Acting Director of USCIS, and Donald J. Trump, as President of the United States appeared through their counsel, Ethan Davis, Eric Soskin, and Kuntal Cholera.

Additionally, papers submitted by numerous amici curiae were before the court. Prior to the hearing, the court granted motions to file amicus briefs on behalf of the following non-parties, all of which the court considered in its analysis: American Public Health Association, et al.; Asian Americans Advancing Justice, et al.; City of Los Angeles, et al.; Justice in Aging, et al.; and Members of Congress. A number of other requests to file amici briefs were denied due to the court’s insufficient time to consider them on this particular motion, given the already-voluminous filings from the parties, the briefing schedule, and the time-sensitive nature of plaintiffs’ request for preliminary relief.

Having read the papers filed by the parties and carefully considered their arguments and the relevant legal authority, and good cause appearing, the court hereby GRANTS CERTAIN PLAINTIFFS’ MOTIONS AND ISSUES A PRELIMINARILY INJUNCTION, the scope of which is discussed below, for the following reasons.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

In 1883, Emma Lazarus penned the now-famous sonnet, The New Colossus. Later affixed to the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor, the poem has been incorporated into the national consciousness as a representation of the country’s promise to would-be immigrants: Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she

With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

But whether one would prefer to see America’s borders opened wide and welcoming, or closed because the nation is full, laws— not poetry— govern who may enter. And the year before Lazarus wrote The New Colossus, Congress had enacted its first comprehensive immigration law, barring entry to "any convict, lunatic, idiot, or any person unable to take care of himself or herself without becoming a public charge," among others. An Act to Regulate Immigration, 22 Stat. 214, Chap. 376 § 2. (1882). Although various iterations of similar laws have since come and gone (the operative statute no longer refers to "lunatics" or "idiots"), since the very first immigration law in 1882, this country has consistently excluded those who are likely to become a "public charge."

Although Congress has never authored an explicit definition of the term, courts and the executive branch have been considering its meaning as used in the statute for over one hundred and twenty years. As interpretations from those two branches accreted toward a consistent understanding,

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Congress repeatedly enacted statutes adopting the identical phrase.

In 1999, the executive branch reviewed its historical application of the term and issued formal guidance to executive employees, explaining that the public charge determination has historically, and should continue to, focus on whether an individual is primarily dependent on the government for subsistence.

In 2018, DHS published a new rule (scheduled to take effect October 15, 2019) that proposed to dramatically expand the definition of "public charge." Rather than include only those who primarily depend on the government for subsistence, DHS now proposes for the first time to categorize as a public charge every person who receives 12 months of public benefits (including many in-kind benefits, like Medicaid and SNAP/Food Stamps) over any 36-month period, regardless of how valuable those benefits are, or how much they cost the government to provide (receiving two types of benefits in one month would count as receiving benefits for two months).

Today, the court is presented with a challenge to DHS’s new definition. The plaintiffs seek to prevent defendants from implementing it before this court can consider this case on the merits. The plaintiffs argue that the new definition will lead to widespread disenrollment1 from public benefits by those who fear being labeled a public charge (and by those confused that they may be swept up in the rule), which will cause plaintiffs to lose a substantial amount funding (for example, the federal government heavily subsidizes state expenses for those enrolled in Medicaid).

The court finds that the plaintiffs are likely to prevail on the merits, for numerous reasons. DHS’s new definition of "public charge" is likely to be outside the bounds of a reasonable interpretation of the statute. Moreover, plaintiffs are likely to prevail on their entirely independent arguments that defendants acted arbitrarily and capriciously during the legally-required process to implement the changes they propose. Because plaintiffs are likely to prevail and will be irreparably harmed if defendants are permitted to implement the rule as planned on October 15, this court will enjoin implementation of the rule in the plaintiff states until this case is resolved on the merits, as discussed in more detail below.

BACKGROUND

In each of the actions before the court, the plaintiffs challenge and seek to preliminarily enjoin implementation of a proposed rule entitled "Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds," proposed by DHS and published in the Federal Register on August 14, 2019. See Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds, 84 Fed.Reg. 41,292 (August 14, 2019) ("the Rule"). The Rule is scheduled to take effect nationwide on October 15, 2019.

A. The Three Actions

In City and County of San Francisco v. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Case No....

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10 practice notes
  • 464 F.Supp.3d 528 (S.D.N.Y. 2020), 1:20-cv-01689-GHW, State v. Scalia
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 2nd Circuit United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • 1 Junio 2020
    ...cognizable injuries." Page 545 City & Cty. of San Francisco v. U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Servs. (USCIS ), 408 F.Supp.3d 1057, 1123 (N.D. Cal. 2019) (citing Cal. v. Trump, 267 F.Supp.3d 1119, 1126 (N.D. Cal. 2017); Cal. v. Azar, 911 F.3d 558, 573 (9......
  • Hsiao v. Stewart, 032321 HIDC, Civ. 18-00502 JAO-KJM
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 9th Circuit United States District Court (Hawaii)
    • 23 Marzo 2021
    ...5798269, at *4 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 29, 2020) (citing City & County of San Francisco v. U.S. Customs & Immigr. Servs., 408 F.Supp.3d 1057, 1078 (N.D. Cal. 2019)); Bauer v. DeVos, 325 F.Supp.3d 74, 104-05 (D.D.C. Plaintiff is not using this Motion to obtain relie......
  • City And County of San Francisco v. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, 120220 FED9, 19-17213
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • 2 Diciembre 2020
    ...record show that such entities are already experiencing disenrollment as a result of the Rule. See City and Cnty. of SF, 408 F.Supp.3d at 1122. DHS nevertheless asserts that the Rule will result in a long-term cost savings after states compensate for the loss of federal&......
  • City And County of San Francisco v. United States Citizenship And Immigration Services, 040821 FED9, 19-17213
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • 8 Abril 2021
    ...2019); Cook County v. McAleenan, 417 F.Supp.3d 1008, 1014 (N.D. Ill. 2019); City & County of San Francisco v. USCIS, 408 F.Supp.3d 1057, 1073 (N.D. Cal. 2019); Washington v. U.S. Dep't of Homeland Sec., 408 F.Supp.3d 1191, 1224 (E.D. Wash. 2019). A divided motio......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
9 cases
  • 464 F.Supp.3d 528 (S.D.N.Y. 2020), 1:20-cv-01689-GHW, State v. Scalia
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 2nd Circuit United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • 1 Junio 2020
    ...cognizable injuries." Page 545 City & Cty. of San Francisco v. U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Servs. (USCIS ), 408 F.Supp.3d 1057, 1123 (N.D. Cal. 2019) (citing Cal. v. Trump, 267 F.Supp.3d 1119, 1126 (N.D. Cal. 2017); Cal. v. Azar, 911 F.3d 558, 573 (9......
  • Hsiao v. Stewart, 032321 HIDC, Civ. 18-00502 JAO-KJM
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 9th Circuit United States District Court (Hawaii)
    • 23 Marzo 2021
    ...5798269, at *4 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 29, 2020) (citing City & County of San Francisco v. U.S. Customs & Immigr. Servs., 408 F.Supp.3d 1057, 1078 (N.D. Cal. 2019)); Bauer v. DeVos, 325 F.Supp.3d 74, 104-05 (D.D.C. Plaintiff is not using this Motion to obtain relie......
  • City And County of San Francisco v. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, 120220 FED9, 19-17213
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • 2 Diciembre 2020
    ...record show that such entities are already experiencing disenrollment as a result of the Rule. See City and Cnty. of SF, 408 F.Supp.3d at 1122. DHS nevertheless asserts that the Rule will result in a long-term cost savings after states compensate for the loss of federal&......
  • City And County of San Francisco v. United States Citizenship And Immigration Services, 040821 FED9, 19-17213
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • 8 Abril 2021
    ...2019); Cook County v. McAleenan, 417 F.Supp.3d 1008, 1014 (N.D. Ill. 2019); City & County of San Francisco v. USCIS, 408 F.Supp.3d 1057, 1073 (N.D. Cal. 2019); Washington v. U.S. Dep't of Homeland Sec., 408 F.Supp.3d 1191, 1224 (E.D. Wash. 2019). A divided motio......
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1 books & journal articles
  • The Problem with Public Charge.
    • United States
    • 1 Febrero 2021
    ...Homeland Sec, 408 F. Supp. 3d 334, 340 (S.D.N.Y. 2019); City & Cty. of San Francisco v. U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Servs., 408 F. Supp. 3d 1057, 1073 (N.D. Cal. 2019); Washington v. U.S. Dep't of Homeland Sec, 408 F. Supp. 3d 1191,1199, (E.D. Wash. 2019). The injunctions in Wash......