CASA De Md., Inc. v. Trump, Case No.: GJH-18-845

CourtUnited States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Maryland)
Writing for the CourtGEORGE J. HAZEL, United States District Judge
Citation355 F.Supp.3d 307
Parties CASA DE MARYLAND, INC., et al., Plaintiffs, v. Donald J. TRUMP, in His Official Capacity as President of the United States, et al., Defendants.
Docket NumberCase No.: GJH-18-845
Decision Date28 November 2018

355 F.Supp.3d 307

CASA DE MARYLAND, INC., et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
Donald J. TRUMP, in His Official Capacity as President of the United States, et al., Defendants.

Case No.: GJH-18-845

United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division.

Signed November 28, 2018


355 F.Supp.3d 312

Steven H. Schulman, Pratik A. Shah, Pro Hac Vice, Stephanie Webster, Pro Hac Vice, Caroline L. Wolverton, Pro Hac Vice, Jillie Richards, Pro Hac Vice, Akin Grump Strauss Hauer and Feld LLP, Dennis A. Corkery, Tiffany Yang, Washington Lawyers Cmte for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, Washington, DC, for Plaintiffs.

Joseph C. Dugan, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC, for Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

GEORGE J. HAZEL, United States District Judge

On March 1, 2001, after a devastating earthquake that killed 1,100 people and displaced another 1.3 million, the Bush Administration designated El Salvador for "Temporary Protected Status," (TPS), a status that permits eligible nationals living in the United States at the time of the designation to lawfully remain here and work for as long as the designation remains in place.1 Since then, El Salvador has struggled to recover from this earthquake, enduring repeated natural disasters, persistent poverty, and low economic growth that have combined to prevent the country from fully rebuilding its infrastructure. Accordingly, El Salvador's protected status was extended eleven times between 2002 and 2016. It is estimated that 262,500 Salvadoran nationals are recipients of TPS residing in the United States.

In January 2018, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that El Salvador's TPS designation would be terminated. In March 2018, Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit, alleging that the decision to terminate El Salvador's TPS was motivated not by a determination that the country no longer continues to meet the conditions for designation, but by President Donald Trump's anti-Latino immigrant animus. Plaintiffs assert claims pursuant to the Equal Protection Clause as incorporated

355 F.Supp.3d 313

into the Fifth Amendment,2 the Fifth Amendment's Due Process Clause, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). ECF No. 1. Presently pending before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 28. The Court held a Motions Hearing on September 12, 2018. See ECF No. 40. For the following reasons, Defendants' Motion to Dismiss is granted in part and denied in part.

I. BACKGROUND

A. The Immigration and Nationality Act

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1990, 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 to 1537 ("INA") authorizes the Attorney General to designate a country for protected status if:

(A) the Attorney General finds that there is an ongoing armed conflict within the state and, due to such conflict, requiring the return of aliens who are nationals of that state to that state (or to the part of the state) would pose a serious threat to their personal safety;

(B) the Attorney General finds that--

(i) there has been an earthquake, flood, drought, epidemic, or other environmental disaster in the state resulting in a substantial, but temporary, disruption of living conditions in the area affected,

(ii) the foreign state is unable, temporarily, to handle adequately the return to the state of aliens who are nationals of the state, and

(iii) the foreign state officially has requested designation under this subparagraph; or

(C) the Attorney General finds that there exist extraordinary and temporary conditions in the foreign state that prevent aliens who are nationals of the state from returning to the state in safety, unless the Attorney General finds that permitting the aliens to remain temporarily in the United States is contrary to the national interest of the United States.

8 U.S.C. § 1254a(b)(1)(A-C).3 In 2003, Congress transferred this authority from the Attorney General to the Secretary of Homeland Security. 6 U.S.C. § 557. When the Secretary designates a country for TPS, eligible nationals of the designated country and eligible individuals with no nationality who "last habitually resided" in the designated country may remain lawfully in the United States for the duration of the designation. 8 U.S.C. § 1254a(a)(1)(A). TPS also authorizes these individuals to engage in employment in the United States. Id. § 1254a(a)(1)(B). Only aliens who have been "continuously physically present in the United States since the effective date of the most recent designation"

355 F.Supp.3d 314

are eligible for TPS. Id. § 1254a(c)(1)(A)(i).

The Secretary may determine an initial period of designation ranging from six months to eighteen months, id. § 1254a(b)(2)(B), and may extend the designation for an additional period of six, twelve, or eighteen months, id. § 1254a(b)(3)(C). The Secretary may also terminate the designation if she determines that a foreign state "no longer continues to meet the conditions for designation." Id. § 1254a(b)(3)(B). To terminate a designation, the Secretary must publish notice in the Federal Register, "including the basis for the determination." Id. The INA also contains a jurisdiction-stripping provision, stating "[t]here is no judicial review of any determination of the Attorney General with respect to the designation, or termination or extension of a designation of a foreign state under this subsection." Id. § 1254a(B)(5)(A). Nonetheless, the INA provides for "an administrative procedure for the review of the denial of benefits." Id. § 1254a(B)(5)(B).

B. Designation and Termination of El Salvador for TPS

On January 13, 2001, a 7.6 magnitude earthquake struck El Salvador, leaving 1,100 dead, around 2,500 missing, and approximately 8,000 injured. ECF No. 1 at ¶ 23.4 The earthquake displaced an estimated 1.3 million people, caused nearly $3 billion in damages, and damaged or destroyed over 200,000 homes and public buildings. Id. The administration of President George W. Bush designated El Salvador for TPS and announced that Salvadorans who had been residing in the United States since February 13, 2001 would be eligible to apply for protected status. Id. ¶ 24. The notice of designation was published in the Federal Register on March 9, 2001. 66 Fed. Reg. 14214.

Between 2002 and 2016, El Salvador's protected status was extended eleven times. ECF No. 1 at ¶ 25. Each of these extensions detailed considerable ongoing structural and social problems in El Salvador. Id . In 2002, more than 75% of road infrastructure needed rebuilding; by 2005, only one-third of the houses destroyed or damaged had been rebuilt or were under construction, and 240 schools needed rebuilding; in 2007, only fifty percent of the homes had been repaired, and only two of the seven main hospitals were undergoing reconstruction; in 2010, still just fifty percent of the homes had been repaired, and the country was reeling from a tropical storm and a volcanic eruption in 2005, a series of earthquakes in 2006, and a hurricane in 2009; by 2015, El Salvador still faced a housing deficit of 446,000, "a profound deficit for a country of 6.1 million people." Id.

The final extension came on July 8, 2016. Id. ¶ 26. That extension was due to expire on March 9, 2018. Id. The Secretary reported that the housing deficit had risen to 630,000, a regional drought was contributing to food insecurity, a lack of potable water affected ten percent of the population, and one third of the population was underemployed or unable to find full-time work. Id. Since then, conditions have worsened in some ways, as a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck the country in November 2016, and a 5.1 magnitude earthquake struck in April 2017. Id. ¶ 30. The housing shortage, though down to 360,000 homes, still affects nearly one million families. Id. ¶ 32. The labor market is in similarly bad

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shape, as one-third of the country's urban labor force remains underemployed. Id. ¶ 34. Forty percent of Salvadoran households live in poverty or extreme poverty. Id . In 2016, remittances sent from Salvadoran nationals living abroad were the country's single greatest source of income, 97% of which come from relatives residing in the United States. Id. ¶ 35. And the rate of these remittances is only increasing. Id. Furthermore, crime continues to plague the country, as El Salvador has one of the highest murder rates in the world. Id. ¶ 38. In 2016 alone, nearly 220,000 people were forced to flee violence in El Salvador. Id. ¶ 46.

Nonetheless, on January 8, 2018, the Secretary announced that El Salvador's TPS designation would be terminated. Id. ¶ 28. The notice of termination published in the Federal Register states that the termination will be effective on September 9, 2019. 83 Fed. Reg. 2654. According to the Complaint, this termination came after White House Chief of Staff John Kelly pressured acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke to terminate the TPS designation of Honduras, another Central American country, explaining that continuing the designation would frustrate the Administration's immigration policy. ECF No. 1 at ¶ 65. Just days later, the Department of State issued a travel...

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10 practice notes
  • California v. U.S. Dep't of Homeland Sec., Case No. 19-cv-04975-PJH
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • August 3, 2020
    ...DHS justified and continues to justify the Final Rule solely on economic grounds." Id.; see also CASA de Maryland, Inc. v. Trump, 355 F. Supp. 3d 307, 312, 324 (D. Md. 2018) (declining to apply Hawaii and Mandel to an Equal Protection challenge against the federal government's decision to T......
  • Mayor and City Council of Baltimore v. Trump, Civil Action No. ELH-18-3636
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Maryland)
    • September 20, 2019
    ...2018) (plaintiffs plausibly alleged an equal protection violation based on the President's statements); Casa de Md., Inc. v. Trump , 355 F. Supp. 3d 307, 325-26 (D. Md. 2018) (same); New York v. U.S. Dep't of Commerce , 315 F. Supp. 3d 766, 810 (S.D.N.Y. 2018) (same), aff'd in part and rev'......
  • Stone v. Trump, Civil Action No. GLR-17-2459
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Maryland)
    • August 20, 2019
    ...relief would not violate the separation of powers doctrine. Id. at 751.Similarly, the defendants in CASA de Maryland, Inc. v. Trump, 355 F.Supp.3d 307 (D.Md. 2018), sought to dismiss President Trump from that case "due to the separation of powers concerns that would arise from a court enjoi......
  • United States v. Carrillo-Lopez, Case No. 3:20-cr-00026-MMD-WGC
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Nevada
    • August 18, 2021
    ...(N.D. Cal. 2020) ; Cook Cnty., Illinois v. Wolf , 461 F. Supp. 3d 779, 788-89 (N.D. Ill. 2020) ; CASA de Maryland, Inc. v. Trump , 355 F. Supp. 3d 307, 325 (D. Md. 2018) ; Centro Presente v. United States Dep't of Homeland Sec. , 332 F. Supp. 3d 393, 412 (D. Mass. 2018).7 See United States ......
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10 cases
  • California v. U.S. Dep't of Homeland Sec., Case No. 19-cv-04975-PJH
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • August 3, 2020
    ...DHS justified and continues to justify the Final Rule solely on economic grounds." Id.; see also CASA de Maryland, Inc. v. Trump, 355 F. Supp. 3d 307, 312, 324 (D. Md. 2018) (declining to apply Hawaii and Mandel to an Equal Protection challenge against the federal government's decision to T......
  • Mayor and City Council of Baltimore v. Trump, Civil Action No. ELH-18-3636
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Maryland)
    • September 20, 2019
    ...2018) (plaintiffs plausibly alleged an equal protection violation based on the President's statements); Casa de Md., Inc. v. Trump , 355 F. Supp. 3d 307, 325-26 (D. Md. 2018) (same); New York v. U.S. Dep't of Commerce , 315 F. Supp. 3d 766, 810 (S.D.N.Y. 2018) (same), aff'd in part and rev'......
  • Stone v. Trump, Civil Action No. GLR-17-2459
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Maryland)
    • August 20, 2019
    ...relief would not violate the separation of powers doctrine. Id. at 751.Similarly, the defendants in CASA de Maryland, Inc. v. Trump, 355 F.Supp.3d 307 (D.Md. 2018), sought to dismiss President Trump from that case "due to the separation of powers concerns that would arise from a court enjoi......
  • United States v. Carrillo-Lopez, Case No. 3:20-cr-00026-MMD-WGC
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Nevada
    • August 18, 2021
    ...(N.D. Cal. 2020) ; Cook Cnty., Illinois v. Wolf , 461 F. Supp. 3d 779, 788-89 (N.D. Ill. 2020) ; CASA de Maryland, Inc. v. Trump , 355 F. Supp. 3d 307, 325 (D. Md. 2018) ; Centro Presente v. United States Dep't of Homeland Sec. , 332 F. Supp. 3d 393, 412 (D. Mass. 2018).7 See United States ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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