Doe v. Trump

Decision Date26 November 2019
Docket NumberCase No. 3:19-cv-1743-SI
Citation418 F.Supp.3d 573
Parties John DOE #1; et al., Plaintiffs, v. Donald TRUMP, et al., Defendants.
CourtU.S. District Court — District of Oregon

Stephen Manning and Nadia Dahab, Innovation Law Lab, 333 SW Fifth Avenue, Suite 200, Portland, OR 97204; Karen C. Tumlin and Esther H. Sung, Justice Action Center, PO Box 27280, Los Angeles, CA 90027; Scott D. Stein and Naomi Igra, Sidley Austin LLP, One South Dearborn Street, Chicago IL 60603. Of Attorneys for Plaintiffs.

Joseph H. Hunt, Assistant Attorney General; Billy J. Williams, United States Attorney for the District of Oregon; August E. Flentje, Special Counsel; William C. Peachey, Director, Office of Immigration Litigation; Brian C. Ward, Senior Litigation Counsel; Courtney E. Moran, Trial Attorney; U.S. Department of Justice, PO Box 868, Ben Franklin Station, Washington D.C., 20044. Of Attorneys for Defendants.


Michael H. Simon, District Judge.

On October 4, 2019, the President of the United States issued Proclamation No. 9945, titled "Presidential Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry of Immigrants Who Will Financially Burden the United States Healthcare System" (the "Proclamation"). The question presented in this case is not whether it is good public policy to require applicants for immigrant visas to show proof of health insurance before they may enter the United States legally, as the President directed in the Proclamation. Under our constitutional system of separation of powers, that is a question for the elected branches of government. Instead, the principal question before the Court is whether the Constitution assigns to Congress or to the President the responsibility for deciding that policy question. Under Article I, section 8 of the United States Constitution, clause 3 gives Congress the power to "regulate Commerce with foreign Nations" and clause 4 states that Congress shall establish a "uniform Rule of Naturalization." Under Article II of the Constitution, section 1, clause 1 provides that "[t]he executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States," and section 3 directs that the President "shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed."

At various times in our nation's history, Congress established a uniform rule of naturalization. Most recently, Congress did so in the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 ("INA"), as amended. In that law, including later amendments, Congress comprehensively established the immigration policy of the United States. Last year, in the case of Trump v. Hawaii , ––– U.S. ––––, 138 S. Ct. 2392, 201 L.Ed.2d 775 (2018), the Supreme Court confirmed that although Congress may delegate certain powers to the Executive Branch, the President may not execute those powers in a way that "expressly override[s] particular provisions" of the INA. Id. at 2411. For the reasons explained in the following pages, the President's Proclamation requiring legal immigrants to show proof of health insurance before being issued a visa by the State Department is inconsistent with the INA. In addition, and independently, the Proclamation was not issued under any properly delegated authority. It is, therefore, the duty of the Court in this case to preliminarily enjoin enforcement of that Proclamation.


A preliminary injunction is an "extraordinary remedy that may only be awarded upon a clear showing that the plaintiff is entitled to such relief." Winter v. Nat. Res. Defense Council, Inc. , 555 U.S. 7, 22, 129 S.Ct. 365, 172 L.Ed.2d 249 (2008). A plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction generally must show that: (1) he or she is likely to succeed on the merits; (2) he or she is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief; (3) the balance of equities tips in his or her favor; and (4) that an injunction is in the public interest. Id. at 20, 129 S.Ct. 365 (rejecting the Ninth Circuit's earlier rule that the mere "possibility" of irreparable harm, as opposed to its likelihood, was sufficient, in some circumstances, to justify a preliminary injunction).

The Supreme Court's decision in Winter , however, did not disturb the Ninth Circuit's alternative "serious questions" test. All. for the Wild Rockies v. Cottrell , 632 F.3d 1127, 1131-32 (9th Cir. 2011). Under this test, " ‘serious questions going to the merits’ and a hardship balance that tips sharply toward the plaintiff can support issuance of an injunction, assuming the other two elements of the Winter test are also met." Id. at 1132. Thus, a preliminary injunction may be granted "if there is a likelihood of irreparable injury to plaintiff; there are serious questions going to the merits; the balance of hardships tips sharply in favor of the plaintiff; and the injunction is in the public interest." M.R. v. Dreyfus , 697 F.3d 706, 725 (9th Cir. 2012).

A. The Immigration and Nationality Act

Congress has legislated immigration since 1882. See An Act to Regulate Immigration, 22 Stat. 214 (1882). Since then, Congress amended the immigration laws several times, until passing the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952. This statute was significantly revised by the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, the early version of the current INA. Aspects of this law has been amended many times through the passage of other laws, but most significantly through direct amendments in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, the Immigration Act of 1990, and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.

Congress adopted an immigrant visa system to further four principal goals: reunifying families, admitting immigrants with skills that are useful to the United States economy, protecting refugees and others in need of humanitarian resettlement, and promoting diversity. Congress gave priority, however, to family reunification when it established the current immigration system. The allocation of visas reflects this goal. The INA authorizes an unlimited number of permanent visas to "immediate relatives," who are defined as "the children, spouses, and parents of a citizen of the United States, except that, in the case of parents, such citizens shall be at least 21 years of age." 8 U.S.C. § 1151(b). These visas are granted regardless of country of national origin, even though other visa categories have caps based on country of national origin and total number of allocated visas. Other family-based preference categories, such as those for adult children, siblings, and relatives of Legal Permanent Residents, are capped at 480,000 per year (with a statutory minimum of 226,000), as compared to 140,000 maximum annual employment immigrant visas and 55,000 maximum annual diversity immigrant visas. 8 U.S.C. § 1151(c) - (e). Family-based petitions account for 65 percent of immigrant visas granted each year.

The first step in both the family-based and employment visa application process is for a relative or employer in the United States to file a sponsorship petition on behalf of the prospective immigrant. After the sponsorship petition is approved, the prospective immigrant applies for a visa and submits supporting documentation. When the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") deems the application complete, the immigrant visa applicant is interviewed. Applicants who are outside the United States must interview at a United States consulate abroad. For applicants who are inside the United States, some may be eligible to apply for immigrant visas domestically, without having to travel to a consulate, but others must leave the country to appear for a consular interview abroad. Individuals in this latter category include noncitizens who have accrued more than 180 days of unlawful presence in the United States but have obtained an I-601A waiver of inadmissibility to excuse the unlawful presence bar under 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(9)(B). See 8 C.F.R. § 212.7(e). To obtain an I-601A waiver, applicants must show that refusal of admission of the immigrant applicant and would cause "extreme hardship" to eligible family members. See 8 C.F.R. § 212.7(e)(3)(vi) (incorporating the "extreme hardship" standard of 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(9)(B)(v) ). Diversity visas are available through a lottery to individuals from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States; the lottery winners self-petition and apply to a consulate for their visa.

At the interview, the consular officer determines whether the immigrant visa applicant is eligible for admission to the United States. In the INA, Congress established ten categories of "Inadmissible Aliens" who are "ineligible to receive visas and ineligible to be admitted to the United States." 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a). If the visa applicant falls into one of these categories, his or her application will be denied. Most relevant to the pending lawsuit is the "public charge" category: "Any alien who, in the opinion of the consular officer at the time of application for a visa ... is likely to become a public charge is inadmissible." 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(4)(A). Congress's 1996 amendment to the INA clarified how consular officers should make the public charge determination.

An early proposed House bill in the 1996 amendment required a visa applicant to demonstrate to a consular officer based on "age, health, family status, assets, resources, financial status, education, skills, or a combination thereof, or an affidavit of support" that the visa applicant would not become a public charge. H.R. Rep. 104-469, 89 (1996). This proposed bill also defined "public charge" to include an immigrant who received any of six categories of non-cash public benefits, including Medicaid, for an aggregate of 12 months within seven years from the date of entry. Id. at 90. An early proposed Senate bill designated an immigrant as a public charge based on receipt of any means-tested cash or non-cash public benefits for an aggregate of 12 months during the...

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8 cases
  • Gomez v. Trump
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Columbia
    • September 4, 2020
    ...decision in Doe #1 , which enjoined a presidential proclamation in part on separation-of-powers grounds. See Doe #1 v. Trump , 418 F. Supp. 3d 573, 593–98 (D. Or. 2019). There, the court held that a presidential proclamation requiring aliens to demonstrate proof of health insurance as a con......
  • Doe v. Trump
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Ninth Circuit
    • December 31, 2020
    ...blocking the implementation of this Proclamation and denied the Government's request for a stay pending appeal. See Doe #1 v. Trump , 418 F. Supp. 3d 573, 605 (D. Or. 2019). The Government filed motions for an administrative stay and for a stay pending appeal, which this court denied by a d......
  • Make the Rd. N.Y. v. Pompeo
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of New York
    • July 29, 2020
    ..., 414 F. Supp. 3d 1307, 1319 (D. Or. 2019), and subsequently, on November 26, 2019, issued a preliminary injunction, Doe v. Trump , 418 F. Supp. 3d 573, 605 (D. Or. 2019). On May 4, 2020, the Ninth Circuit denied the government's request to stay the district court's preliminary injunction. ......
  • Doe v. Trump
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Ninth Circuit
    • May 4, 2020
    ...order, the district court issued a nationwide preliminary injunction prohibiting implementation of the Proclamation. Doe v. Trump , 418 F. Supp. 3d 573, 604 (D. Or. 2019). In doing so, the district court applied the familiar Winter factors, concluding that the Plaintiffs had shown that (1) ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
    • United States
    • Notre Dame Law Review Vol. 95 No. 5, May 2020
    • May 1, 2020
    ...expressed are mine alone and do not represent the views of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. (1) See Doe 1 v. Trump, 418 F. Supp. 3d 573 (D. Or.), stay denied, 944 F.3d 1222 (9th Cir. 2019); Washington v. U.S. Dep't of Homeland Sec., 408 F. Supp. 3d 1191 (E.D. Wash. 2019),sta......

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