Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Regents of University of California v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

November 8, 2018

Regents of the University Of California; Janet Napolitano, in her official capacity as President of the University of California, Plaintiffs-Appellees,
v.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Kirstjen Nielsen, in her official capacity as Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Defendants-Appellants. State of California; State of Maine; State of Minnesota; State of Maryland, Plaintiffs-Appellees,
v.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Kirstjen Nielsen, in her official capacity as Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security; United States of America, Defendants-Appellants. City of San Jose, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Donald J. Trump, President of the United States, in his official capacity; Kirstjen Nielsen, in her official capacity as Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security; United States of America, Defendants-Appellants. DULCE GARCIA; MIRIAM GONZALEZ AVILA; SAUL JIMENEZ SUAREZ; VIRIDIANA CHABOLLA MENDOZA; JIRAYUT LATTHIVONGSKORN; NORMA RAMIREZ, Plaintiffs-Appellees,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA; DONALD J. TRUMP, in his official capacity as President of the United States; U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY; KIRSTJEN NIELSEN, in her official capacity as Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Defendants-Appellants. COUNTY OF SANTA CLARA; SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION LOCAL 521, Plaintiffs-Appellees,
v.
DONALD J. TRUMP, in his official capacity as President of the United States; JEFFERSON B. SESSIONS III, Attorney General; KIRSTJEN NIELSEN, in her official capacity as Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security; U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, Defendants-Appellants. REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA; JANET NAPOLITANO, in her official capacity as President of the University of California; STATE OF CALIFORNIA; STATE OF MAINE; STATE OF MINNESOTA; STATE OF MARYLAND; CITY OF SAN JOSE; DULCE GARCIA; MIRIAM GONZALEZ AVILA; SAUL JIMENEZ SUAREZ; VIRIDIANA CHABOLLA MENDOZA; JIRAYUT LATTHIVONGSKORN; NORMA RAMIREZ; COUNTY OF SANTA CLARA; SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION LOCAL 521, Plaintiffs-Appellees,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA; DONALD J. TRUMP, in his official capacity as President of the United States; U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY; KIRSTJEN NIELSEN, in her official capacity as Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Defendants-Appellants. REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA; JANET NAPOLITANO, in her official capacity as President of the University of California; STATE OF CALIFORNIA; STATE OF MAINE; STATE OF MINNESOTA; STATE OF MARYLAND; CITY OF SAN JOSE; DULCE GARCIA; MIRIAM GONZALEZ AVILA; SAUL JIMENEZ SUAREZ; VIRIDIANA CHABOLLA MENDOZA; JIRAYUT LATTHIVONGSKORN; NORMA RAMIREZ, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA; DONALD J. TRUMP, in his official capacity as President of the United States; U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY; KIRSTJEN NIELSEN, in her official capacity as Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Defendants-Appellees. DULCE GARCIA; MIRIAM GONZALEZ AVILA; SAUL JIMENEZ SUAREZ; VIRIDIANA CHABOLLA MENDOZA; NORMA RAMIREZ; JIRAYUT LATTHIVONGSKORN; COUNTY OF SANTA CLARA; SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION LOCAL 521, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA; DONALD J. TRUMP, in his official capacity as President of the United States; U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY; KIRSTJEN NIELSEN, in her official capacity as Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Defendants-Appellees.

          Argued and Submitted May 15, 2018 Pasadena, California

          Appeal from the United States District Court No. 3:17-cv-05211-WHA, 3:17-cv-05235-WHA, 3:17-cv-05329-WHA, 3:17-cv-05380-WHA, 3:17-cv-05813-WHA, 3:17-cv-05211-WHA, 3:17-cv-05235-WHA, 3:17-cv-05329-WHA, 3:17-cv-05380-WHA, 3:17-cv-05813-WHA, 3:17-cv-05211-WHA, 3:17-cv-05235-WHA, 3:17-cv-05329-WHA, 3:17-cv-05380-WHA, 3:17-cv-05813-WHA, 3:17-cv-05211-WHA, 3:17-cv-05235-WHA, 3:17-cv-05329-WHA, 3:17-cv-05380-WHA, 3:17-cv-05813-WHA, for the Northern District of California William Alsup, District Judge, Presiding

          Hashim M. Mooppan (argued), Deputy Assistant Attorney General; Thomas Pulham, Abby C. Wright, and Mark B. Stern, Appellate Staff; Alex G. Tse, Acting United States Attorney; Chad A. Readler, Acting Assistant Attorney General; United States Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.; for Defendants-Appellants.

          Michael J. Mongan (argued), Deputy Solicitor General; Samuel P. Siegel, Associate Deputy Solicitor General; James F. Zahradka II, Deputy Attorney General; Michael L. Newman, Supervising Deputy Attorney General; Edward C. DuMont, Solicitor General; Xavier Becerra, Attorney General; Office of the Attorney General, San Francisco, California; for Plaintiff-Appellee State of California.

          Susan P. Herman, Deputy Attorney General; Janet T. Mills, Attorney General; Office of the Attorney General, Augusta, Maine; for Plaintiff-Appellee State of Maine.

          Jacob Campion, Assistant Attorney General; Lori Swanson, Attorney General; Office of the Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; for Plaintiff-Appellee State of Minnesota.

          Leah J. Tullin, Assistant Attorney General; Steven M. Sullivan, Solicitor General; Brian E. Frosh, Attorney General; Attorney General's Office, Baltimore, Maryland; for Plaintiff-Appellee State of Maryland.

          Jeffrey Michael Davidson (argued), Breanna K. Jones, David S. Watnick, Erika Douglas, and Mónica Ramírez Almadani, Covington & Burling LLP, San Francisco, California; Ivano M. Ventresca, Megan A. Crowley, Alexander A. Berengaut, Mark H. Lynch, and Robert A. Long, Covington & Burling LLP, Washington, D.C.; for Plaintiff-Appellee The Regents of the University of California, et al.

          Brian Danitz, Tamarah Prevost, and Justin T. Berger, Cotchett Pitre & McCarthy LLP, Burlingame, California, for Plaintiff-Appellee City of San José.

          Mark D. Rosenbaum (argued), Malhar Shah, and Judy London, Public Counsel, Los Angeles, California; Haley S. Morrisson, Matthew S. Rozen, and Nicole A. Saharsky, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, Washington, D.C.; Kelsey J. Helland, Jonathan N. Soleimani, Kirsten Galler, Ethan D. Dettmer, and Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, Los Angeles, California; Luis Cortes Romera, Barrera Legal Group PLLC, Kent, Washington; Erwin Chemerinsky, Berkeley, California; Laurence H. Tribe, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Leah M. Litman, Irvine, California; for Plaintiffs-Appellees Dulce Garcia, Miriam Gonzalez Avila, Saul Jimenez Suarez, Virdiana Chabolla Mendoza, Norma Ramirez, and Jirayut Latthivongskorn.

          Andrew Kushner, Eric P. Brown, and Stacey M. Leyton, Altshuler Berzon LLP, San Francisco, California, for Plaintiff-Appellee County of Santa Clara and Service Employees International Union Local 521.

          Marcelo Quiñones, Laura S. Trice, Greta S. Hansen, and James R. Williams, Office of the County Counsel, County of Santa Clara, San Jose, California, for Plaintiff-Appellee County of Santa Clara.

          Jessica Levin, Melissa Lee, Lorraine K. Bannai, and Robert S. Chang, Ronald A. Peterson Law Clinic, Seattle University School of Law, Seattle, Washington, for Amici Curiae 42 Historians and the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality.

          Leo Gertner, Deborah L. Smith, and Nicole G. Berner, Service Employees International Union, Washington, D.C.; Deepak Gupta, Gupta Wessler PLLC, Washington, D.C.; David J. Strom, American Federation of Teachers, Washington, D.C.; Judith Rivlin, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Washington, D.C.; Patricia M. Shea, Communications Workers of America, Washington, D.C.; Bradley Raymond, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Washington, D.C.; Joseph E. Kolick Jr., International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, Hanover, Maryland; Mario Martínez, Martínez Aguilasocho & Lynch APLC, Bakersfield, California; for Amici Curiae Service Employees International Union; American Federation of Teachers; American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; Communications Workers of America; International Brotherhood of Teamsters; International Union of Painters and Allied Trades; and United Farm Workers of America.

          Geoffrey S. Brounell and Peter Karanjia, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, Washington, D.C., for Amicus Curiae United We Dream.

          Sean Goldhammer, Lubna A, Alam, Jason Walta, Emma Leheny, and Alice O'Brien, National Education Association, Washington, D.C.; Andra M. Donovan, San Diego Unified School District, San Diego, California; Abhas Hajela, Capitol Advisors Group LLC, Sacramento, California; Eric E. Stevens, Girard Edwards Stevens & Tucker LLP, Sacramento, California; Kathryn M. Sheffield, California Faculty Association, Sacramento, California; Glenn Rothner, Rothner Segall & Greenstone, Pasadena, California; D. Michael Ambrose and Elaine M. Yama-Garcia, California School Boards Association Education Legal Alliance, Sacramento, California; Jean Shin and Laura P. Juran, California Teachers Association, Burlingame, California; Vibiana M. Andrade, Los Angeles County Office of Education, Downey, California; Devora Navera Reed and David Holmquist, Los Angeles Unified School District, Los Angeles, California; Sonja H. Trainor and Francisco Negrón, National School Boards Association, Alexandria, Virginia; Michael L. Smith, Oakland Unified School District, Oakland, California; Raoul Bozio, Sacramento City Unified School District, Sacramento, California; for Amici Curiae Public Education Groups.

          Caryn C. Lederer, Chirag G. Badlani, and Matthew J. Piers, Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym Ltd., Chicago, Illinois; Daniel B. Rice and Joshua A. Geltzer, Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, D.C.; for Amici Curiae Current and Former Prosecutors and Law Enforcement Leaders.

          Zachary Kolodin, Michael N. Fresco, Adeel A. Mangi, and Steven A. Zalesin, Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP, New York, New York; Juvaria Khan, Sirine Shebaya, and Jonathan Smith, Muslim Advocates, Washington, D.C.; for Amici Curiae 119 Religious Organizations.

          Jennifer J. Yun, Ishan Bhabha, Lindsay C. Harrison, and Thomas J. Perrelli, Jenner & Block LLP, Washington, D.C., for Amici Curiae Institutions of Higher Education.

          Jennifer B. Sokoler and Anton Metlitsky, O'Melveny & Myers LLP, New York, New York, for Amicus Curiae Eighteen Universities.

          Lauren R. Goldman and Karen W. Lin, Mayer Brown LLP, New York, New York; Andrew J. Pincus, Mayer Brown LLP, Washington, D.C.; Ari Holzblatt, Patrick J. Carome, and Seth Waxman, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, Washington, D.C.; for Amici Curiae 102 Companies and Associations.

          John-Paul S. Deol and Daniel J. McCoy, Fenwick & West LLP, Mountain View, California; Mark S. Ross, James L. McGinnis, and Neil A.F. Popović, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP, San Francisco, California; for Amicus Curiae The Bar Association of San Francisco.

          Juan P. Valdivieso, Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, Oakland, California; Albert Giang, Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, Los Angeles, California; J. Wells Harrell and Joshua Riley, Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, Washington, D.C.; for Amici Curiae Former Federal Immigration and Homeland Security Officials.

          Kaitland M. Kennelly and William J. Schwartz, Cooley LLP, New York, New York, for Amici Curiae Partnership for Educational Justice, DelawareCAN: The Delaware Campaign for Achievement Now, HawaiiKidsCAN, NewMexicoKidsCAN, and Virginia Excels.

          Matthew Scherb, Michael Dundas, Valerie L. Flores, Leela A. Kapur, James P. Clark, and Michael N. Feuer, City Attorney, Office of the City Attorney, Los Angeles, California; Donna R. Ziegler, Alameda County Counsel, Oakland, California; Anne L. Morgan, City Attorney, Austin, Texas; Eugene O'Flaherty, City Corporation Counsel, Boston, Massachusetts; Cheryl Watson Fisher, City Solicitor, Chelsea, Massachusetts; Kimberly M. Foxx, States Attorney for Cook County, Chicago, Illinois; Jeremy Berry, City Attorney, Atlanta, Georgia; Farimah F. Brown, City Attorney, Berkeley, California; Nancy E. Glowa, City Solicitor, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Edward N. Siskel, City Corporation Counsel, Chicago, Illinois; Larry E. Casto, City Attorney, Dallas, Texas; Kristin M. Bronson, City Attorney of the City and County of Denver, Denver, Colorado; Gregory L. Thomas, City Attorney, Gary, Indiana; Ronald C. Lewis, City Attorney, Houston, Texas; Eleanor M. Dilkes, City Attorney, Iowa City, Iowa; Jennifer Vega-Brown, City Attorney, Las Cruces, New Mexico; Karl A. Racine, Attorney General, District of Colombia, Washington, D.C.; Donna Y. L. Leong, Corporation Counsel, Honolulu, Hawaii; Aaron O. Lavine, City Attorney, Ithaca, New York; Daniel T. Satterberg, King County Prosecuting Attorney, Seattle, Washington; Charles Parkin, City Attorney, Long Beach, California; Margaret L. Carter, O'Melveny & Myers LLP, Los Angeles, California; Susan Segal, City Attorney, Minneapolis, Minnesota; John Rose Jr., Corporation Counsel, New Haven, Connecticut; Barbara J. Parker, City Attorney, Oakland, California; Tracy P. Reeve, City Attorney, Portland, Oregon; Michael P. May, City Attorney, Madison, Wisconsin; Charles J. McKee, Monterey County Counsel, Salinas, California; Zachary W. Carter, City Corporation Counsel, New York, New York; Marcel S. Pratt, Acting City Solicitor, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Jeffrey Dana, City Solicitor, Providence, Rhode Island; Timothy R. Curtin, City Corporation Counsel, Rochester, New York; Dennis J. Herrera, City Attorney for the City and County of San Francisco, San Francisco, California; Lane Dilg, City Attorney, Santa Monica, California; Francis X. Wright Jr., City Solicitor, Somerville, Massachusetts; Matthew D. Ruyak, Interim City Attorney, Sacramento, California; Kelley A. Brennan, City Attorney, Santa Fe, New Mexico; Peter S. Holmes, City Attorney; Seattle, Washington; Mike Rankin, City Attorney, Tucson, Arizona; Michael Jenkins, West Hollywood City Attorney, Jenkins & Hogan LLP, Manhattan Beach, California; John Daniel Reaves, General Counsel, The U.S. Conference of Mayors, Washington, D.C.; for Amici Curiae 40 Cities and Counties, The National League of Cities, and The United States Conference of Mayors.

          Jennifer Chang Newell and Katrina L. Eiland, ACLU Foundation Immigrants' Rights Project, San Francisco, California; David Hausman, Michael K.T. Tan, and Lee Gelernt, ACLU Foundation Immigrants' Rights Project, New York, New York; Julia Harumi Mass, ACLU Foundation of Northern California, San Francisco, California; Ahilan T. Arulanantham, ACLU Foundation of Southern California, Los Angeles, California; David Loy, ACLU Foundation of San Diego & Imperial Counties, San Diego, California; for Amici Curiae American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, ACLU Foundation of Northern California, ACLU Foundation of Southern California, and ACLU Foundation of San Diego & Imperial Counties.

          Claire M. Blakey, Johanna S. Dennehy, and Harry Lee, Steptoe & Johnson LLP, Washington, D.C.; Christopher W. Smith, Steptoe & Johnson, Los Angeles, California; for Amici Curiae Immigration Law Scholars.

          Avi Zevin, Jack Lienke, and Richard L. Revesz, Institute for Policy Integrity, New York, New York, for Amicus Curiae Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University School of Law.

          Anna-Rose Mathieson and Ben Feuer, California Appellate Law Group LLP, San Francisco, California; Daniel Hemel, Chicago, Illinois; Seth Davis, Irvine, California; for Amici Curiae Twenty-Four Law Professors.

          Philicia Hill, Dorian Spence, Dariely Rodriguez, and Jon Greenbaum, The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Washington, D.C.; Sameer P. Sheikh, Martin L. Saad, John F. Cooney, and William D. Coston, Venable LLP, Washington, D.C.; for Amici Curiae The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Anti-Defamation League, and Social Justice Organizations.

          Joan R. Li, Kara C. Wilson, Monique R. Sherman, and Maureen P. Alger, Cooley LLP, Palo Alto, California, for Amici Curiae Legal Services Organizations.

          Mary Kelley Persyn, Persyn Law & Policy, San Francisco, California, for Amici Curiae American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children and California Professional Society on the Abuse of Children.

          Christopher J. Hajec, Immigration Reform Law Institute, Washington, D.C., for Amicus Curiae The Immigration Reform Law Institute.

          Before: Kim McLane Wardlaw, Jacqueline H. Nguyen, and John B. Owens, Circuit Judges.

         SUMMARY[*]

         Immigration

         In an action challenging the Department of Homeland Security's rescission of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the panel affirmed the district court's grant of preliminary injunctive relief, and affirmed in part the district court's partial grant and partial denial of the government's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim.

         Begun in 2012, DACA allows those noncitizens who unwittingly entered the United States as children, who have clean criminal records, and who meet various educational or military service requirements to apply for two-year renewable periods of deferred action-a revocable decision by the government not to deport an otherwise removable person from the country. In 2014, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson issued a memorandum that announced the related Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents program (DAPA), which allowed deferred action for certain noncitizen parents of American citizens and lawful permanent residents, and expanded DACA. All of the policies outlined in the 2014 Johnson memorandum were enjoined nationwide in a district court order upheld by the Fifth Circuit and affirmed by an equally divided Supreme Court. After a new presidential administration took office, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke issued a memorandum in September 2017 rescinding DACA.

         Suits were filed in the Northern District of California by the Regents of the University of California, a group of states led by California, the City of San Jose, the County of Santa Clara and Service Employees International Union Local 521, and a group of individual DACA recipients led by Dulce Garcia. The cases were consolidated, and the district court ordered the government to complete the administrative record. Seeking to avoid providing additional documents, the government filed a petition for mandamus, which this court denied. The government petitioned the Supreme Court for the same mandamus relief; the Court did not reach the merits of the administrative record dispute, but instructed the district court to rule on the government's threshold arguments challenging reviewability of its rescission decision. The district court entered a preliminary injunction requiring DHS to adjudicate renewal applications for existing DACA recipients, and the court partially granted and partially denied the government's motion to dismiss.

         The panel held that neither the Administrative Procedure Act nor the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) barred judicial review of the decision to rescind DACA. With respect to the APA, the panel reviewed the cases of Heckler v. Chaney, 470 U.S. 821 (1985), Montana Air Chapter No. 29 v. Federal Labor Relations Authority, 898 F.2d 753 (9th Cir. 1990), and City of Arlington v. FCC, 569 U.S. 290 (2013). The panel concluded that, where the agency's decision is based not on an exercise of discretion, but instead on a belief that any alternative choice was foreclosed by law because the agency lacked authority, the APA's "committed to agency discretion" bar to reviewability, 5 U.S.C. § 701(a)(2), does not apply. The panel also concluded that the Acting Secretary based the rescission of DACA solely on a belief that DACA was beyond the authority of DHS. Accordingly, the panel determined that the rescission was within the realm of agency actions reviewable under the APA.

         With respect to the INA, the panel rejected the government's contention that review was barred by 8 U.S.C. § 1252(g), which precludes judicial review of "any cause or claim by or on behalf of any alien arising from the decision or action of the [Secretary of Homeland Security] to commence proceedings, adjudicate cases, or execute removal orders." The panel explained that, under Reno v. Am.-Arab Anti-Discrimination Comm., 525 U.S. 471 (1999), the rescission does not fall within the three discrete actions mentioned in 8 U.S.C. § 1252(g).

         Having concluded that neither the APA nor the INA precludes judicial review, the panel turned to the merits of the preliminary injunction and considered whether the agency was correct in concluding that DACA was unlawful. The Attorney General's primary bases for concluding that DACA was illegal were that the program was "effectuated . . . without proper statutory authority" and that it amounted to "an unconstitutional exercise of authority." More specifically, the Attorney General asserted that "the DACA policy has the same legal and constitutional defects that the courts recognized as to DAPA" in the Fifth Circuit litigation. The panel considered the DAPA litigation, comparing aspects of DAPA and DACA, and concluded that that DACA was a permissible exercise of executive discretion, notwithstanding the Fifth Circuit's conclusion that the related DAPA program exceeded DHS's statutory authority. Thus, the panel concluded that, because the Acting Secretary was incorrect in her belief that DACA was illegal and had to be rescinded, plaintiffs are likely to succeed in demonstrating that the rescission must be set aside under the APA as arbitrary and capricious.

         The panel next concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in issuing a nationwide injunction, noting that such relief is commonplace in APA cases, promotes uniformity in immigration enforcement, and is necessary to provide the plaintiffs here with complete redress.

         Finally, addressing the district court's order granting in part and denying in part the government's motion to dismiss, the court concluded that the district court properly dismissed plaintiffs' APA notice-and-comment claim, and their claim that the DACA rescission violates their substantive due process rights. The panel further concluded that the district court also properly denied the government's motion to dismiss plaintiffs' APA arbitrary-and-capricious claim, their claim that the new information-sharing policy violates their due process rights, and their claim that the DACA rescission violates their right to equal protection.

         Concurring in the judgment, Judge Owens wrote that, as he believed the Plaintiffs' Equal Protection claim has some likelihood of success on the merits, he concurred in the judgment affirming the preliminary injunction. However, Judge Owens disagreed with the majority's conclusion that otherwise unreviewable agency action is reviewable when the agency justifies its action by reference to its understanding of its jurisdiction. Therefore, Judge Owens would hold that § 701(a)(2) precludes the court from subjecting DACA's rescission to arbitrary-and-capricious review. Judge Owens would also affirm the preliminary injunction and remand for consideration whether Plaintiffs have demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of their Equal Protection claim.

         As for the government's appeal from the motions to dismiss, Judge Owens dissented from the majority's holding to affirm the district court's denial of the motion to dismiss Plaintiffs' APA arbitrary-and-capricious claim. However, he concurred in the majority's holding to affirm the district court's dismissal of Plaintiffs' APA notice-and-comment claim. He also concurred in the judgment to affirm the district court's ruling on Plaintiffs' Due Process claims. He also agreed with the majority's decision to affirm the district court's denial of the motion to dismiss the Equal Protection claim and hold that the Equal Protection claim offers an alternative ground to affirm the preliminary injunction.

          OPINION

          WARDLAW, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         It is no hyperbole to say that Dulce Garcia embodies the American dream. Born into poverty, Garcia and her parents shared a San Diego house with other families to save money on rent; she was even homeless for a time as a child. But she studied hard and excelled academically in high school. When her family could not afford to send her to the top university where she had been accepted, Garcia enrolled in a local community college and ultimately put herself through a four-year university, where she again excelled while working full-time as a legal assistant. She then was awarded a scholarship that, together with her mother's life savings, enabled her to fulfill her longstanding dream of attending and graduating from law school. Today, Garcia maintains a thriving legal practice in San Diego, where she represents members of underserved communities in civil, criminal, and immigration proceedings.

         On the surface, Dulce Garcia appears no different from any other productive-indeed, inspiring-young American. But one thing sets her apart. Garcia's parents brought her to this country in violation of United States immigration laws when she was four years old. Though the United States of America is the only home she has ever known, Dulce Garcia is an undocumented immigrant.

         Recognizing the cruelty and wastefulness of deporting productive young people to countries with which they have no ties, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced a policy in 2012 that would provide some relief to individuals like Garcia, while allowing our communities to continue to benefit from their contributions. Known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, the program allows those noncitizens who unwittingly entered the United States as children, who have clean criminal records, and who meet various educational or military service requirements to apply for two-year renewable periods of deferred action-a revocable decision by the government not to deport an otherwise removable person from the country. DACA also allows recipients to apply for authorization to work in this country legally, paying taxes and operating in the above-ground economy. Garcia, along with hundreds of thousands of other young people, trusting the government to honor its promises, leapt at the opportunity.

         But after a change in presidential administrations, in 2017 the government moved to end the DACA program. Why? According to the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, upon the legal advice of the Attorney General, DACA was illegal from its inception, and therefore could no longer continue in effect. And after Dulce Garcia-along with other DACA recipients and affected states, municipalities, and organizations-challenged this conclusion in the federal courts, the government adopted the position that its fundamentally legal determination that DACA is unlawful is unreviewable by the judicial branch.

         With due respect for the Executive Branch, we disagree. The government may not simultaneously both assert that its actions are legally compelled, based on its interpretation of the law, and avoid review of that assertion by the judicial branch, whose "province and duty" it is "to say what the law is." Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. (1 Cranch) 137, 177 (1803). The government's decision to rescind DACA is subject to judicial review. And, upon review, we conclude that plaintiffs are likely to succeed on their claim that the rescission of DACA-at least as justified on this record-is arbitrary, capricious, or otherwise not in accordance with law. We therefore affirm the district court's grant of preliminary injunctive relief.[1]

         I.

         A. History of Deferred Action

         The central benefit available under the DACA program is deferred action. Because much of this dispute revolves around the legitimacy of that practice, we begin by reviewing the Executive Branch's historical use of deferred action.

         The basic concept is a simple one: deferred action is a decision by Executive Branch officials not to pursue deportation proceedings against an individual or class of individuals otherwise eligible for removal from this country. See 6 Charles Gordon et al., Immigration Law & Procedure § 72.03[2][h] (2018) ("To ameliorate a harsh and unjust outcome, the immigration agency may decline to institute proceedings, may terminate proceedings, or may decline to execute a final order of deportation. This commendable exercise in administrative discretion . . . is now designated as deferred action."); Barahona-Gomez v. Reno, 236 F.3d 1115, 1119 n.3 (9th Cir. 2001) ("Deferred action refers to an exercise of administrative discretion by the [immigration agency] under which [it] takes no action to proceed against an apparently deportable alien based on a prescribed set of factors generally related to humanitarian grounds." (internal quotation marks omitted)); Hiroshi Motomura, Immigration Outside the Law 29 (2014) (noting that "deferred action is usually granted only for limited periods of time and does not provide a path to lawful permanent resident status or citizenship").

         Unlike most other forms of relief from deportation, deferred action is not expressly grounded in statute. It arises instead from the Executive's inherent authority to allocate resources and prioritize cases. Cf. 6 U.S.C. § 202(5) (charging the Secretary of Homeland Security with "[e]stablishing national immigration enforcement policies and priorities"). As such, recipients of deferred action "enjoy no formal immigration status." Ariz. Dream Act Coal. v. Brewer, 855 F.3d 957, 964 (9th Cir. 2017) (Brewer II). But despite its non-statutory origins, Congress has historically recognized the existence of deferred action in amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as well as other statutory enactments. See 8 U.S.C. § 1227(d)(2) ("The denial of a request for an administrative stay of removal under this subsection shall not preclude the alien from applying for . . . deferred action[.]"); REAL ID Act of 2005, Pub. L. No. 109-13, § 202(c)(2), 119 Stat. 231, 313 (2005) (listing proof of "approved deferred action status" as sufficient "evidence of lawful status" for the issuance of a driver's license). The Supreme Court has also recognized deferred action by name, describing the Executive's "regular practice (which ha[s] come to be known as 'deferred action') of exercising discretion for humanitarian reasons or simply for its own convenience." Reno v. Am.-Arab Anti-Discrimination Comm., 525 U.S. 471, 483-84 (1999) (AADC). Thus, "it is well settled that the Secretary [of Homeland Security] can exercise deferred action." Brewer II, 855 F.3d at 967.

         Official records of administrative discretion in immigration enforcement date at least back to the turn of the twentieth century, not long after the enactment of the nation's first general immigration statute in 1882. See Act of Aug. 3, 1882, ch. 376, 22 Stat. 214. A 1909 Department of Justice circular regarding statutorily authorized denaturalization instructed that "as a general rule, good cause is not shown for the institution of proceedings . . . unless some substantial results are to be achieved thereby in the way of betterment of the citizenship of the country." U.S. Dep't of Justice, Circular Letter No. 107 (Sept. 20, 1909) (quoted in Memorandum from Sam Bernsen, Gen. Counsel, INS, Legal Opinion Regarding Service Exercise of Prosecutorial Discretion at 4 (Jul. 15, 1976) (Bernsen Memorandum)).

         The government's exercise of deferred action in particular first came to light in the 1970s, as a result of Freedom of Information Act litigation over the government's efforts to deport John Lennon and Yoko Ono, apparently based on Lennon's "British conviction for marijuana possession." Motomura, supra, at 28; see generally Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, Beyond Deportation: The Role of Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Cases 2-27 (2015). Then known as "nonpriority status," the practice had been observed in secret within the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) since at least the 1950s, but INS officials had publicly denied its existence. See Leon Wildes, The Nonpriority Program of the Immigration and Naturalization Service Goes Public: The Litigative Use of the Freedom of Information Act, 14 San Diego L. Rev. 42, 52-53 (1976); Wadhia, supra, at 16. After the Lennon case revealed the practice, the INS issued its first public guidance on the use of deferred action, stating that "[i]n every case where the district director determines that adverse action would be unconscionable because of the existence of appealing humanitarian factors, he shall recommend consideration for nonpriority." Immigration and Naturalization Service, Operations Instructions § 103.1(a)(1)(ii) (1975) (quoted in Wadhia, supra, at 17). Although the 1975 guidance was rescinded in 1997, DHS officials continue to apply the same humanitarian factors in deciding whether to grant an individual deferred action. 6 Gordon et al., supra, § 72.03[2][h] & nn.133-34; see also AADC, 525 U.S. at 484 n.8.

         In addition to case-by-case adjudications, the Executive Branch has frequently applied deferred action and related forms of discretionary relief programmatically, to entire classes of otherwise removable noncitizens. Indeed, the Congressional Research Service has compiled a list of twenty-one such "administrative directives on blanket or categorical deferrals of deportation" issued between 1976 and 2011. Andorra Bruno et al., Cong. Research Serv., Analysis of June 15, 2012 DHS Memorandum, Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children 20-23 (July 13, 2012); see also id. at 9 ("The executive branch has provided blanket or categorical deferrals of deportation numerous times over the years.").

         To take one early example, in 1956 President Eisenhower extended immigration parole to over thirty thousand Hungarian refugees who were otherwise unable to immigrate to the United States because of restrictive quotas then in existence. See White House Statement on the Termination of the Emergency Program for Hungarian Refugees (Dec. 28, 1957). The power to parole-that is, to allow a noncitizen physically to enter the country, while treating that person as "at the border" for purposes of immigration law-is established by statute, but the version of the INA in existence when President Eisenhower acted did not explicitly authorize programmatic exercises of the parole power.[2] Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, Pub. L. No. 82-414, § 212(d)(5), 66 Stat. 163, 188. See generally 6 Gordon et al., supra, § 62.01. Subsequent presidents made use of similar categorical parole initiatives. Wadhia, supra, at 30.

         Another salient example is the Family Fairness program, established by the Reagan Administration and expanded under President George H.W. Bush. The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) had provided a pathway to legal status for hundreds of thousands of undocumented noncitizens, but did not make any provision for their close relatives unless those individuals separately qualified under the Act's criteria. See generally 3 Gordon et al., supra, § 38.06. President Reagan's INS Commissioner interpreted IRCA not to authorize immigration benefits for anyone outside the statutory criteria, but nevertheless exercised executive discretion to defer the deportation of the minor children of noncitizens legalized under the statute. Alan C. Nelson, Comm'r, INS, Legalization & Family Fairness: An Analysis (Oct. 21, 1987). And in 1990, the INS instituted "significant liberalizations" of the policy by granting one-year periods of extended voluntary departure to children and spouses of individuals legalized under IRCA who could establish admissibility, continuous residency, and a clean criminal record. INS Reverses Family Fairness Policy, 67 No. 6 Interpreter Releases 153 (Feb. 5, 1990); see also 3 Gordon et al., supra, § 38.06. Contemporary estimates by INS officials of the number of people potentially eligible ranged as high as 1.5 million.[3] See Immigration Act of 1989 (Part 2): Hearings Before the Subcomm. on Immigration, Refugees & Int'l Law of the H. Comm. on the Judiciary, 101st Cong. 49, 56 (1990) (testimony of Gene McNary, Comm'r, INS). Extended voluntary departure, the mechanism through which these individuals were allowed to remain in the United States is, like deferred action, a creature of executive discretion not specifically authorized by statute. See Hotel & Rest. Emps. Union, Local 25 v. Smith, 846 F.2d 1499, 1510 (D.C. Cir. 1988) (en banc) (opinion of Mikva, J.).

         Since then, the immigration agency has instituted categorical deferred action programs for self-petitioners under the Violence Against Women Act; applicants for T and U visas (which are issued to victims of human trafficking and of certain crimes, respectively); foreign students unable to fulfill their visa requirements after Hurricane Katrina; and widowed spouses of United States citizens who had been married less than two years. None of these deferred action programs was expressly authorized by statute at the time they were initiated.

         B. The DACA Program

         DACA was announced in a June 15, 2012, memorandum from Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, [4]entitled "Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children." Secretary Napolitano explained that the nation's immigration laws "are not designed . . . to remove productive young people to countries where they may not have lived or even speak the language," especially where "many of these young people have already contributed to our country in significant ways," and, because they were brought here as children, "lacked the intent to violate the law." She therefore determined that "[p]rosecutorial discretion, which is used in so many other areas, is especially justified here."

         The Napolitano memorandum thus laid out the basic criteria of the DACA program, under which a noncitizen will be considered for a grant of deferred action if he or she:

• came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
• has continuously resided in the United States for at least five years preceding [June 15, 2012] and is present in the United States on [June 15, 2012];
• is currently in school, has graduated from high school, has obtained a general education development certificate, or is an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
• has not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, or multiple misdemeanor offenses, nor otherwise poses a threat to national security or public safety; and
• is not above the age of thirty [on June 15, 2012].[5]

         DACA applicants must submit extensive personal information to DHS, along with fees totaling nearly $500. Applicants also submit to biometric screening in which they are photographed and fingerprinted, enabling extensive biographical and biometric background checks. If those checks come back clean, each application is then evaluated for approval by DHS personnel on a case-by-case basis.

         If approved into the DACA program, an applicant is granted a renewable two-year term of deferred action- again, "a form of prosecutorial discretion whereby the Department of Homeland Security declines to pursue the removal of a person unlawfully present in the United States." Brewer II, 855 F.3d at 967. In addition to the deferral of removal itself, pre-existing DHS regulations allow all deferred-action recipients to apply for employment authorization, enabling them to work legally and pay taxes. 8 U.S.C. § 1324a(h)(3) (empowering the Executive Branch to authorize the employment of noncitizens); 8 C.F.R. § 274a.12(c)(14) (providing that "[a]n alien who has been granted deferred action" is eligible for work authorization upon a showing of "economic necessity for employment"). Indeed, "DACA recipients are required to apply for employment authorization, in keeping with the Executive's intention that DACA recipients remain 'productive' members of society." Ariz. Dream Act Coal. v. Brewer, 757 F.3d 1053, 1062 (9th Cir. 2014) (Brewer I) (emphasis in original). Finally, DHS does not consider deferred-action recipients, including those benefitting from DACA, to accrue "unlawful presence" for purposes of the INA's reentry bars.[6] 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(9)(B)(ii); see Brewer I, 757 F.3d at 1059.

         In an attempt to build on the success of the DACA program, in 2014 Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson issued a separate memorandum that both announced the related Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents program (DAPA), which allowed deferred action for certain noncitizen parents of American citizens and lawful permanent residents, and expanded DACA by (1) removing the age cap, (2) extending the term of deferred-action and related work-authorization grants from two to three years, and (3) moving up the cutoff date by which an applicant must have been in the United States to January 1, 2010. Twenty-six states challenged this extension in federal court, arguing that DAPA is unconstitutional. All of the policies outlined in the Johnson memorandum were enjoined nationwide in a district court order upheld by the Fifth Circuit and affirmed by an equally divided Supreme Court. See United States v. Texas, 136 S.Ct. 2271 (2016); Texas v. United States, 809 F.3d 134 (5th Cir. 2015); Texas v. United States, 86 F.Supp.3d 591 (S.D. Tex. 2015); see also Neil v. Biggers, 409 U.S. 188, 192 (1972) (affirmance by an equally divided court has no precedential value). The original DACA program remained in effect.

         In 2017, a new presidential administration took office, bringing with it a change in immigration policy. On February 20, 2017, then-Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly issued a memorandum that set out the administration's new enforcement priorities, stating that "the Department no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement." However, the memorandum explicitly left DACA and DAPA in place. In a second memorandum issued June 15, 2017, after "consider[ing] a number of factors, including the preliminary injunction in the [Texas] matter, the ongoing litigation, the fact that DAPA never took effect, and our new immigration enforcement priorities," Secretary Kelly rescinded DAPA as an "exercise of [his] discretion."

         Then, on June 28, 2017, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton wrote to United States Attorney General Jefferson B. Sessions III threatening that if the federal government did not rescind DACA by September 5, 2017, Paxton would amend the complaint in the Texas litigation to challenge DACA as well as DAPA.

         On September 4, 2017, the day before Paxton's deadline, Attorney General Sessions sent his own letter to Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke. The Attorney General's letter "advise[d] that the Department of Homeland Security . . . should rescind" the DACA memorandum based on his legal opinion that the Department lacked statutory authority to have created DACA in the first place. He wrote:

DACA was effectuated by the previous administration through executive action, without proper statutory authority and with no established end-date, after Congress'[s] repeated rejection of proposed legislation that would have accomplished a similar result. Such an open-ended circumvention of immigration laws was an unconstitutional exercise of authority by the Executive Branch.

         The Attorney General further opined that "[b]ecause the DACA policy has the same legal and constitutional defects that the courts recognized as to DAPA, it is likely that potentially imminent litigation would yield similar results with respect to DACA."

         The very next day, following the Attorney General's directive, Acting Secretary Duke issued a memorandum rescinding DACA. The memorandum begins with a "Background" section that covers DACA, DAPA, the Texas litigation, Secretary Kelly's previous memoranda, Texas Attorney General Paxton's threat, and the Attorney General's letter. Then, in the section titled "Rescission of the June 15, 2012 DACA Memorandum," the Duke memorandum states:

Taking into consideration the Supreme Court's and the Fifth Circuit's rulings in the ongoing litigation, and the September 4, 2017 letter from the Attorney General, it is clear that the June 15, 2012 DACA program should be terminated. In the exercise of my authority in establishing national immigration policies and priorities, except for the purposes explicitly identified below, I hereby rescind the June 15, 2012 memorandum.

         The Duke memorandum further states that although DHS would stop accepting initial DACA requests effective immediately, the agency would provide a one-month window in which renewal applications could be filed for current DACA beneficiaries whose benefits were set to expire before March 5, 2018. It also states that DHS would not terminate existing grants of deferred action under DACA "solely based on the directives in this memorandum." Thus, beginning on March 5, 2018, each DACA recipient's grant of deferred action would be allowed to expire at the end of its two-year term. As of September 4, 2017-the day before the rescission-approximately 689, 800 individuals were enrolled in DACA.

         C. Procedural History

         The rescission of DACA instantly sparked litigation across the country, including the cases on appeal here. Suits were filed in the Northern District of California by the Regents of the University of California, a group of states led by California, the City of San Jose, the County of Santa Clara and Service Employees International Union Local 521, and a group of individual DACA recipients led by Dulce Garcia. The complaints included claims that the rescission was arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA); that it was a substantive rule requiring notice-and-comment rulemaking under the APA; that it violated the due process and equal protection rights protected by the U.S. Constitution; and that DHS was equitably estopped from using the information provided on DACA applications for enforcement purposes. The cases were consolidated before Judge William Alsup in the District Court for the Northern District of California and proceeded to litigation.

         On October 17, 2017, the district court ordered the government to complete the administrative record, holding that the record proffered by the government was incomplete in several respects. Seeking to avoid providing additional documents, the government filed a petition for mandamus. In arguing its mandamus petition, the government took the position that the legality of the rescission should stand or fall based solely on the reasons and the record already provided by the government. We denied the mandamus petition, stating that "the notion that the head of a United States agency would decide to terminate a program giving legal protections to roughly 800, 000 people based solely on 256 pages of publicly available documents is not credible, as the district court concluded." In re United States, 875 F.3d 1200, 1206 (9th Cir. 2017) (footnotes omitted).

         The government next petitioned the Supreme Court for the same mandamus relief; the Court did not reach the merits of the administrative record dispute, but instead instructed the district court to rule on the government's threshold arguments challenging reviewability of its rescission decision before requiring the government to provide additional documents. In re United States, 138 S.Ct. 443, 445 (2017). Thus, the administrative record in this case still consists of a scant 256 publicly ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.