Batalla Vidal, et al. v. Nielsen, et al.
MEMORANDUM & ORDER, For the reasons stated above. Defendants' motion to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction (Dkt. #95 ) is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART. The following claims are dismissed: Batalla Vidal v. Duke, No. 16-CV-4756: Fourth claim for relief (Due Process Clause--Notice); New York v. Trump, No. 17-CV-5228: Second claim for relief (Due Process Clause--Information-Use Policy); Third claim for relief (Equitable Estoppel--Information-Use Policy); Seventh claim for relief (Due Process Clause--Notice). Defendants' motion to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction is denied with respect to all other claims. The court RESERVES RULING on Defendants' motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. So Ordered by Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis on 11/9/2017. (Lee, Tiffeny)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
MARTIN JONATHAN BATALLA VIDAL et al,
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
ELAINE C. DUKE,Acting Secretary, Department of
Homeland Security, et al.,
STATE OF NEW YORK et al..
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
DONALD TRUMP,President ofthe United States, et al..
NICHOLAS G. GARAUFIS,United States District Judge.
Plaintiffs in the above-captioned cases challenge the rescission ofthe Deferred Action for
Childhood Arrivals("DACA")program, as well as other actions that Defendants are alleged to
have taken in connection with the rescission ofthat program. Defendants have moved to dismiss
these cases for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim. (See Defs. Mot.
to Dismiss(Dkt. 95)^; Defs. Mem. of Law in Supp. of Mot. to Dismiss("Defs. Mem.")(Dkt. 951).) For the reasons that follow, the court GRANTS IN PART and DENIES IN PART
Defendants' motion to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction and RESERVES RULING
on Defendants' motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim.
The court begins by providing some background on the DACA program,the steps
Defendants have taken to end it, and the increasingly complicated procedural history ofthese
A. Factual Background
1. Deferred Action
The DACA program originates in a mismatch between the number of individuals
unlawfully present in the United States and DHS's ability to remove these individuals from the
country. As of2014,for example, approximately 11.3 million removable individuals were
present in the United States.^ (The Department of Homeland Security's Authority to Prioritize
Removal of Certain Aliens Unlawfully Present in the United States and to Defer Removal of
Others, 38 Op. O.L.C. at 1 (2014)
("OLC Op.")(Admin. R.("AR")(Dkt. 77-1)at 4).) DHS has
the resources to remove only a small percentage ofthese individuals—specifically, about
400,000 per year, or less than four percent ofthe total, as of2014. (Id. at 1; DHS,2015
'Except as noted, all docket citations refer to the docket in Batalla Vidal v. Duke. No. 16-CV-4756(E.D.N.Y.).
For convenience, the court refers to the Plaintiffs in Batalla Vidal v. Duke as the "Batalla Vidal Plaintiffs"; Plaintiff
Make the Road New York as "MRNY";the Plaintiffs in New York v. Trump. No. 17-CV-5228(E.D.N.Y.), as the
"State Plaintiffs"; the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as"DHS"; U.S. Customs and Border Protection as
"GBP"; U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services as "USCIS"; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as
"ICE"; and the U.S. Department of Justice as "DOJ."
^ "Aliens may be removed ifthey were inadmissible at the time ofentry, have been convicted of certain crimes, or
meet other criteria set by federal law." Arizona v. United States. 567 U.S. 387,396(2012)(citing 8 U.S.C. § 1227).
Yearbook ofImmigration Statistics tbl. 39(2016)(listing 333,341 removals and 129,122
"returns" for the year 2015).) Because ofthe "practical fact" that it cannot deport all these
individuals, the Executive Branch has significant discretion to prioritize the removal ofsome and
to deprioritize the removal of others.
Arpaio v. Obama.797 F.3d 11,16(D.C. Cir. 2015).
"One form of discretion the Secretary of Homeland Security exercises is 'deferred
action,' which entails temporarily postponing the removal ofindividuals unlawfully present in
the United States." Id "Deferred action," sometimes referred to as "nonpriority status," is "in
effect, an informal administrative stay of deportation," Lennon v. INS,527 F.2d 187,191 n.7
(2d Cir. 1975), by which immigration authorities decide not to initiate, or decide to halt, removal
proceedings "for humanitarian reasons or simply for.,. convenience," Reno v. Am.-Arab AntiDiscrimination Comm.,525 U.S. 471,484(1999)("AAADC"). Immigration authorities have
used deferred action and similar policies on numerous occasions since at least the early 1960s.
Arpaio. 797 F.3d at 16 (citing OLC Op. at 7-8,12-13). Although deferred action was initially
"developed without express statutory authorization," AAADC,525 U.S. at 484(quoting 6 C.
Gordon et al.. Immigration Law and Procedure § 72.03(2)(h)(1998)), it has since been
referenced in the Immigration and Nationality Act("INA")and in DHS regulations,
§ 1154(a)(l)(D)(i)(ll),(IV)(making certain individuals "eligible for deferred action and work
authorization"); 8 C.F.R. § 274a.l2(c)(14)(authorizing certain recipients of deferred action to
apply for work authorization).
2. DACA and DAPA
In 2012,the Obama Administration created the DACA program by issuing a
memorandum stating that DHS would consider according deferred action to certain
undocumented immigrants who entered the United States as children. (Mem.from Janet
Napolitano, Sec'y ofDHS,to David V. Aguilar, Acting Comm'r, CBP,et al., Exercising
Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children
(June 15, 2012)(the "2012 DACA Memo")
(AR 1).) The 2012 DACA Memo directed CBP,
USCIS,and ICE to consider exercising prosecutorial discretion with respect to individuals
without lawful immigration status who(1) were under the age of sixteen when they entered the
United States;(2)had been continuously present in the United States for at least the five years
leading up to June 15, 2012;(3) were currently in school, had graduated from high school or
obtained GEDs,or were honorably discharged veterans;(4)had not been convicted offelonies,
significant misdemeanors, or multiple misdemeanors, and did not "otherwise pose a threat to
national security or public safety"; and (5) were not above the age ofthirty. (Id.) Individuals
who met these criteria, passed a background check, and were granted relief"on a case by case
basis" were shielded from removal and eligible to apply for work authorization, subject to
renewal every two years. (Id at 2-3.) The 2012 DACA Memo made clear, however, that it
"confer[red] no substantive right, immigration status or pathway to citizenship," but only "set
forth policy for the exercise of discretion within the framework ofthe existing law." (Id at 3.)
Following the issuance ofthe 2012 DACA Memo,approximately 800,000 individuals have been
granted deferred action and work authorization under the program. (Second Am. Compl.
("SAC")(Dkt. 60)^ 73; USCIS,Number of Form 1-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for
Childhood Arrivals, by Fiscal Year, Quarter, Intake, Biometrics and Case Status, Fiscal Year
(Am. Compl.("State Pis. Am. Compl."), Ex. 1 (No. 17-CV-5228,
In 2014,the Obama Administration announced a new deferred action program for the
parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, Deferred Action for Parents of
Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents("DAPA"). (Mem.from Jeh Charles Johnson,
Sec'y of DHS,to Leon Rodriguez, Dir., USCIS., et al. Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with
Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children and with Respect to Certain
Individuals Who Are the Parents of U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents(Nov. 20,2014)(the
"2014 DAPA Memo")
(AR 37).) The 2014 DAPA Memo also expanded the DACA program by
(1)permitting individuals bom before June 15, 1981, to apply for deferred action;(2)extending
the term ofthe benefits obtained under the DACA program from two to three years; and
(3)adjusting the date-of-entry requirement so that individuals who entered the United States
before January 1, 2010, could obtain deferred action and work authorization. (Id at 3-4.) The
court refers to these changes to the DACA program as the"DACA Expansion."
Following the issuance ofthe 2014 DAPA Memo,twenty-six states, led by Texas, filed
suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southem District of Texas, claiming that the DAPA
program violated the Administrative Procedure Act("APA"),5 U.S.C. § 550 et sea., and the
Take Care Clause ofthe U.S. Constitution, U.S. Const, art. II, § 3. S^ Texas v. United States.
86 F. Supp. 3d 591, 598(S.D. Tex. 2015). On Febmary 16, 2015,the district court concluded
that those states had standing to sue and were likely to succeed on the merits oftheir procedural
APA claim that the 2014 DAPA Memo was invalid because it constituted a "substantive mle,"
not a "general statement of policy," and thus should have been promulgated through notice-andcomment mlemaking. Id at 671-72. The court issued a nationwide injunction against the
implementation of the DAPA program,id at 677-78, and the DACA Expansion,id at 678 n.l 11.
The Fifth Circuit affirmed that decision, finding that the plaintiff states were likely to succeed
both on their claim that the 2014 DAPA Memo should have been made through notice-and-
comment procedures and on their claim that the memo was substantively Contrary to the INA.
Texas v. United States. 809 F.3d 134, 178,186(5th Cir. 2015)(as revised). The Fifth Circuit
declined to reach the plaintiff states' Take Care Clause claim. Id at 146 n.3. The decision was
affirmed by an equally divided Supreme Court.
136 S. Ct. 2271 (Mem.).
3. PAPA Rescission
The Executive Branch's immigration-enforcement priorities shifted with the election of
President Donald Trump. Shortly after his Inauguration, President Trump issued an executive
order that cast doubt on the exemption of"classes or categories of removable aliens from
potential enforcement." Exec. Order 13,768, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the
United States, 82 Fed. Reg. 8799(Jan. 25,2017). The following month, then-Secretary of DHS
John Kelly implemented that order by issuing a memorandum rescinding "all existing conflicting
directives, memoranda, or field guidance regarding enforcement of our immigration laws and
priorities for removal," except for the DACA and PAPA programs, which he left in place.
(Mem.from John Kelly, Sec'y,PHS,to Kevin McAleenan, Acting Comm'r, CBP,et al..
Enforcement ofthe Immigration Laws to Serve the National Interest at 2(Feb. 20,2017)
230).) Four months later. Secretary Kelly issued another memorandum, which rescinded the
PAPA program and the PACA Expansion based on "the preliminary injunction in this matter,
the ongoing litigation, the fact that PAPA never took effect, and our new immigration
enforcement priorities." (Mem.from John F. Kelly, Sec'y, PHS,to Kevin K. McAleenan,
Acting Comm'r, CBP,et al.. Rescission of November 20,2014, Memorandum Providing for
Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents("PAPA")at 3(June
(AR 235).) That memorandum did not, however, rescind the original PACA program
or revoke the three-year-long deferred action and work authorization issued between the
announcement ofthe PACA Expansion and the Southern District of Texas's issuance of a
preliminary injunction against that program. (Id. at 2& n.3).
4. DACA Rescission
Following the rescission ofthe 2014 DAPA Memo,Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton
wrote on behalf ofeleven states to Attorney General Jeff Sessions to demand that the "Executive
Branch" rescind the 2012 DACA Memo. (Ltr. from Ken Paxton, Att'y Gen. of Texas, to Hon.
Jeff Sessions, Att'y Gen. ofthe U.S.(June 29,2017)at 2(AR 239).) Paxton warned that, if DHS
did not act to end the DACA program,the plaintiff states would amend their complaint in Texas
V. United States to challenge the DACA program and the remaining work permits issued under
the DACA Expansion. (Id at 2.)
Thereafter, Attorney General Sessions wrote to Acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke to
"advise that[DHS]should rescind" the 2012 DACA Memo.^ (Letter from Jefferson B. Sessions,
III, Att'y Gen. of the U.S., to Elaine C. Duke, Acting Sec'y, DHS (the "Sessions Letter")
251).) The Attorney General opined that DACA was unconstitutional and that the Texas
plaintiffs would likely prevail in their anticipated challenge to the program:
DACA was effectuated by the previous administration through
executive action, without proper statutory authority and with no
established end-date, after Congress' repeated rejection ofproposed
legislation that would have accomplished a similar result. Such an
open-ended circumvention of immigration laws was an
unconstitutional exercise ofauthority by the Executive Branch. The
related Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful
Permanent Residents(DAPA)policy was enjoined on a nationwide
basis in a decision affirmed by the Fifth Circuit on the basis of
multiple legal grounds and then by the Supreme Court by an equally
divided vote. Then-Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly
rescinded the DAPA policy in June. Because 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.
While the letter is not dated, the PDF ofthe AR dates the letter September 4, 2017. (See also Defs. Mem. at 9.)
On September 5,2017, Defendants rescinded the DACA program."^ The Attomey
General announced the decision at a press conference, and Acting Secretary Duke implemented
the decision by issuing a memorandum (the"DACA Rescission Memo")to her subordinates.
(DOJ,Press Release, Attomey General Sessions Delivers Remarks on DACA (Sept. 5,2017),
from Elaine C. Duke, Acting Sec'y, DHS,to James W. McCament, Acting Dir., USCIS, et al..
Rescission ofthe June 15,2012 Memorandum Entitled "Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with
Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children"(Sept. 5, 2017)
Duke pointed to the mlings ofthe Fifth Circuit and the Supreme Court in the Texas litigation, as
well as to the Attomey General's "legal determination" that DACA was "'an open-ended
circumvention of immigration laws'" and '"an xmconstitutional exercise of authority'":
Taking into consideration the Supreme Court's and the Fifth
Circuit's mlings in the ongoing litigation, and the September 4,2017
letter from the Attomey 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.
(Id. at 3-4(quoting Sessions Letter).)
Rather than terminating the DACA program outright, the DACA Rescission Memo
provided for a phased "wind down" of the program. First, DHS would consider initial
Defendants maintain that, as a legal matter, Acting Secretary Duke is solely responsible for the decision to rescind
the DACA program. (Defs. Oct. 10,2017, Reply in Supp. of Mot. to Vacate(Dkt. 80)at 3-4.) As the court has
noted, however. Defendants previously represented to Ae court that the Attomey General and Acting Secretary
Duke jointly decided to end the DACA program. (Tr. of Sept. 14, 2017, Hr'g(Docket Number Pending) 13:1714:06, 24:21-24,26:1-6; Oct. 17, 2017, Mem.& Order(Dkt. 86)at 9-10.) Defendants had not then, and still have
not, presented this court with any reason why it should disregard their earlier representations as to who decided to
end the DACA program. (See Oct. 17,2017, Mem.& Order at 10; Oct. 19,2017, Mem.& Order at 10-11.) For
purposes ofthis motion, however, nothing turns on the question of whether Acting Secretary Duke acted alone or
with the Attomey General and the President when terminating the DACA program, so the court simply refers to the
actions of"Defendants" in this regard.
applications for deferred action and work authorization that it had received as of September 5,
2017. (DACA Rescission Memo at 4.) Second, DHS would "adjudicate—on an individual, case
by case basis" requests for renewal of deferred action and work authorization "from current
beneficiaries whose benefits will expire between [September 5,2017,] and March 5,2018 that
have been accepted by[DHS]as of October 5, 2017." (Id) DHS would not consider other
applications for deferred action or work authorization under the DACA program. (Id.) Existing
grants of deferred action and work authorization would remain in effect "for the remaining
duration oftheir validity periods," though DHS would retain the authority to terminate or deny
deferred action when it deemed appropriate. (Id) Under the DACA Rescission Memo,the
benefits granted as part ofthe DACA program will therefore expire gradually over the next two
B. Procedural Background
1. Prior to the DACA Rescission
The first ofthe above-captioned cases, Batalla Vidal v. Duke. No. 16-CV-4756
(E.D.N.Y.), predates the Trump Administration's decision to rescind the DACA program. In
that case. Plaintiff Martin Batalla Vidal initially challenged DHS's compliance with the
nationwide injunction issued by the Southern District of Texas in Texas v. United States. Batalla
Vidal applied for deferred action and work authorization in November 2014 and, in February
2015, was notified that he had received deferred action and work authorization for the next three
years under the terms of the DACA Expansion. (Compl.(Dkt. 1)H 32.) On May 14,2015,
however, DHS revoked his three-year work authorization, citing the Texas injunction, and
replaced it with a two-year permit. (Id tH 34-36.) Batalla Vidal challenged that decision,
contending that the Texas plaintiffs lacked standing to seek, and the Southern District of Texas
lacked jurisdiction to issue, a nationwide injunction. (Id ^43-47.) Batalla Vidal subsequently
amended his complaint to add the nonprofit organization MRNY as a plaintiff and name then-
Director of USCIS Leon Rodriguez as a defendant. (Am. Compl.(Dkt. 29).) In November
2016,the Batalla Vidal Plaintiffs moved with Defendants' consent to stay briefing in the case
"[d]ue to uncertainty regarding the future ofthe[DACA]program." (Pis. Nov. 21,2016, Mot. to
Stay (Dkt. 35); Apr.4, 2017, Joint Mot. to Stay (Dkt. 40).)
2. Following the DACA Rescission
Following Defendants' announcement ofthe decision to rescind the DACA program.
Plaintiffs brought these actions challenging that decision and certain other actions that
Defendants have taken relating to that decision. On September 6, 2017,fifteen states and the
District of Columbia^ filed suit challenging both the rescission ofthe DACA program and DHS's
alleged changes in its policy regarding the use of DACA applicants' information for
immigration-enforcement purposes. (State Pis. Compl.(No. 17-CV-5228, Dkt. 1)
The State Plaintiffs asserted claims under the Due Process Clause ofthe Fifth Amendment to the
U.S. Constitution, the APA,and the Regulatory Flexibility Act,5 U.S.C. §§ 601-12(the "RFA").
(Id.) Two weeks later, the Batalla Vidal Plaintiffs again amended their complaint to assert
certain claims similar to those brought by the State Plaintiffs, as well as a claim that Defendants
violated the Due Process Clause by failing to notify DACA recipients that they needed to renew
their deferred action and work authorization by October 5, 2017. (SAC
160-66.) Finally, the
State Plaintiffs amended their complaint to add claims(1)challenging the notice provided to
DACA recipients ofthe rescission ofthe DACA program; and(2)further challenging the change
' State Plaintiffs were initially comprised ofthe States ofNorth Carolina, Hawaii, New York, Washington,
Iowa, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Illinois, Connecticut, New Mexico, and Delaware; the Commonwealths of
Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia; and the District of Columbia. (State Pis. Compl.(No. 17-CV-5228, Dkt.
1).) Colorado has since joined the case. (State Pis. Am. Compl.(No. 17-CV-5228, Dkt. 54).)
in DHS's information-use policy. (State Pis. Am. Compl.(No. 17-CV-5228, Dkt. 54)
274-80.) Together, Plaintiffs now assert the following claims:
Equal Protection. Both sets of Plaintiffs allege that the decision to rescind the DACA
program violated the equal-protection principles incorporated in the Due Process Clause ofthe
Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,
^Boiling v. Shame,347 U.S. 497, 498-500(1954),
because that decision was motivated by improper considerations. (SAC
167-70; State Pis.
Am. Compl.fl 233-39.) The State Plaintiffs allege that the DACA Rescission Memo "target[s]
individuals for discriminatory treatment, without lawful justification" and that it was "motivated,
at least in part, by a discriminatory motive and/or a desire to harm a particular group." (State
Pis. Am. Compl.
235-36.) The Batalla Vidal Plaintiffs allege that President Trump, Attorney
General Sessions, and Acting Secretary Duke violated the Due Process Clause in deciding to
rescind the DACA program because that decision "targets Latinos and,in particular, Mexicans,
and will have a disparate impact on these groups," and "was substantially motivated by animus
toward Latinos and,in particular, Mexicans." (SAC
Due Process—^Individualized Notice. Both sets of Plaintiffs also contend that
Defendants violated the Fifth Amendment's Due Process Clause by failing to provide DACA
recipients with adequate notice ofthe decision to rescind the DACA program. (SAC
State Pis. Am. Compl.
274-80.) In particular, the Batalla Vidal Plaintiffs allege that, prior to
the DACA Rescission Memo,DHS advised DACA recipients to submit applications to renew
their deferred action and work authorization "as soon as possible" and, in particular, 120-150
days before expiration, to ensure that those benefits did not expire before DHS could process the
renewal applications. (SAC 1164.) Following the issuance ofthe DACA Rescission Memo,
Defendants did not send individual revised notices to alert DACA recipients who were eligible to
renew their deferred action and work authorization (i.e., individuals whose benefits expired
before March 5,2018)that they only had until October 5,2017,to do so. (Id H 165.) The State
Plaintiffs allege that Defendants violated the Due Process Clause ofthe Fifth Amendment by
failing to provide DACA recipients with "adequate notice" about "the procedures and timeline
for renewing their DACA status,""the general termination ofthe DACA program after March 5,
2018," or "their inability to apply for renewal oftheir DACA status after March 5, 2018." (State
Pis. Am. Compl.tH 276-77.)
Due Process—^Information-Use Policy. Both sets of Plaintiffs assert that DHS
impermissibly backtracked on its representations that it would use information gleaned fi-om
DACA applications for immigration-enforcement purposes only in limited circumstances. (SAC
UK 151,153; State Pis. Am. Compl. KK 240-45.) While, as discussed below,the Batalla Vidal
Plaintiffs fold this challenge into their substantive APA claim, the State Plaintiffs challenge this
decision as "fundamentally unfair," in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth
Amendment. (State Pis. Am. Compl. K 243.)
Equitable Estoppel—^Information-Use Policy. The State Plaintiffs argue that the
doctrine of equitable estoppel bars DHS from changing its policy regarding the use ofDACA
applicants' information. (Id KK 246-52.) The State Plaintiffs allege that Defendants, having
"made repeated affirmative statements about the protections that would be given to the personal
information provided by DACA applicants" and "placed affirmative restrictions on the use of
such information for purposes ofimmigration enforcement"(id K 248), are now estopped from
using that information for immigration-enforcement purposes(id KK 250-51). The court refers to
this claim, together with Plaintiffs' constitutional information-use policy claims, as Plaintiffs'
"information-use policy claims."
APA—^Arbitrary and Capricious. Both sets of Plaintiffs challenge the decision to end
the DACA program under the APA as substantively "arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of
discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law." 5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(A). (SAC
State Pis. Am. Compl.
253-56.) The Batalla Vidal Plaintiffs contend that Attorney General
Sessions and Acting Secretary Duke acted arbitrarily and capriciously by deciding to end the
DACA program and by changing DHS's policy regarding the confidentiality of DACA
applicants' information because those decisions "(a)lack a rational explanation for the change in
policy on which persons had reasonably relied,(b) are based on a legal error, and (c)failed to
consider all relevant factors." (SAC ^ 151.) The State Plaintiffs argue that the implementation
ofthe DACA Rescission Memo and termination ofthe DACA program "with minimal formal
guidance" constituted arbitrary, capricious, and unlawful action in violation of Section 706 ofthe
APA. (State Pis. Am. Compl.^ 254-55.) The court refers to these claims together as Plaintiffs'
"substantive APA claims."
APA—^Notice and Comment. Both sets of Plaintiffs also contend that DHS's
implementation of the DACA Rescission Memo constitutes a substantive or legislative "rule" for
purposes of the APA,and thus needed to be made through notice-and-comment rulemaking
procedures. See 5 U.S.C. § 553. (SAC
144-48; State Pis. Am. Compl.
particular, the Batalla Vidal Plaintiffs argue that the DACA Rescission Memo is a substantive
rule,"as it binds DHS to categorically deny applications for deferred action to individuals who
fit the original DACA eligibility criteria." (SAC f 146.) The State Plaintiffs, on the other hand,
argue that the promulgation and implementation ofthe DACA Rescission Memo "categorically
and definitively changed the substantive criteria by which individual DACA grantees work, live,
attend school, obtain credit, and travel in the United States," impacting those beneficiaries'
"substantive rights." (State Pis. Am. Compl. H 261.) The court refers to these claims together as
Plaintiffs' "procedural APA claims."
RFA. Finally, both sets of Plaintiffs assert claims under the RPA. Plaintiffs claim that
Defendants violated the RFA by issuing the DACA Rescission Memo without conducting an
analysis of the rescission's impact on "small entities." (SAC
155-59; State Pis. Am. Compl.
266-73.) MRNY alleges that it is a "small organization" that is directly affected by the
DACA Rescission Memo and thus has a cause of action under the RFA. (SAC T| 156.) The State
Plaintiffs assert that they and their "small governmentaljurisdictions, nonprofits, and businesses,
and their residents" are harmed by Defendants' failure to conduct such a regulatory impact
analysis. (State Pis. Am. Compl. 273.) The court refers to these claims as Plaintiffs "RFA
The following chart summarizes these claims:
Table: Claims Presented
Batalla Vidal v. Duke®
Fifth claim, Iffl 167-70
Second claim, 149-54
First claim, 144-48
Cause of Action
Due Process Clause
Termination ofthe DACA
Due Process Clause
Third claim, 155-59
Fourth claim, 160-66
(notice ofrevised renewal
New York v. Trump'
First claim, 233-39
Fourth claim, tH 253-56
Fifth claim, til 257-65
Sixth claim, 266-73
termination ofthe DACA
Changes to DHS policy
regarding the use of
Due Process Clause
^ All citations refer to the SAC.
^ All citations refer to the State Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint.
3. District Court Proceedings
The parties have vigorously litigated these actions before this court. Although the full
procedural history can be discerned from the relevant dockets, the court provides the following
limited summary ofthe proceedings to date.
Consistent with the regular practice of courts in this district in civil cases, discovery
matters were referred to the magistrate judge assigned to the case, Magistrate Judge James
Orenstein, to decide in the first instance.
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A); Local Civ. R. 72.2.
After soliciting the views ofthe parties as to whether discovery should proceed (Sept. 15, 2017,
Order(Dkt. 58)), Judge Orenstein authorized discovery to proceed over Defendants' objections
(Tr. of Sept. 26,2017, Hr'g(Docket Number Pending)26:21-27:22). Judge Orenstein then
issued a case management and scheduling order (the "Case Management Order"), which
confirmed the previously announced discovery schedule. (Sept. 27,2017, Order(Dkt. 67).) Of
particular relevance to these proceedings, the Case Management and Scheduling Order required
Defendants to produce, by October 6, 2017, an administrative record as well as a privilege log
describing "every document considered within any component ofthe executive branch as part of
the process of determining the policy and actions at issue in these actions that are not being
produced and as to which the defendants would assert a claim of privilege, regardless of whether
the defendants deem such ... record to be part of the official administrative record." (Id. UK 11(c)
(the "Privilege Log Requirement").)
Defendants promptly challenged the Case Management Order. On September 29,2017,
Defendants filed a motion before this court"seek[ing] relieffrom" the Privilege Log
Requirement, which,they argued,"raise[d] substantial separation-of-powers concems," to the
extent it could be read as applying to White House communications, and required Defendants to
assert privilege with respect to documents that were not properly included in the administrative
record. (Sept. 29,2017, Defs. Mot. to Vacate(Dkt.69)("Defs. Sept. 29 Mot.") at 2-5.)
Defendants also argued that it would be impossible to comply with the Privilege Log
Requirement within the deadline set by the Case Management Order(id at 5), and that the court
should consider threshold arguments for dismissal ofthese cases before allowing discovery to
proceed (id at 5-6). Defendants did not specifically argue that discovery was inappropriate,
although they reincorporated arguments against discovery by reference to a letter they had filed
with Judge Orenstein a week earlier and briefly outlined three "threshold dismissal arguments."
(Id. at 1, 5-6; see also Defs. Sept. 22,2017, Ltr. Regarding Discovery (Dkt. 65).)
The court issued two orders in response to Defendants' objections. The first order
extended the deadline for complying with the Privilege Log Requirement by two weeks, so that
the court could consider whether the as-yet-unproduced administrative record was adequate and
whether Defendants retained the presumption that they had correctly compiled the record.
(Oct. 3, 2017, Order(Dkt. 72).) Defendants subsequently asked the court to narrow the Privilege
Log Requirement or vacate it entirely. (Defs. Oct. 10, 2017, Reply in Supp. of Mot. to Vacate
(Dkt. 80)at 2.) At the same time. Defendants also asked the court to stay discovery pending
resolution of Defendants' anticipated dispositive motions, which Defendants averred would
"raise arguments that are strong, purely legal, and completely dispositive of Plaintiffs' claims."
(Id. at 4.) Defendants did not, however, specifically identify what those arguments were (instead
cross-referencing their September 29 Motion and string-citing to authority discussed below)or
address any of the factors that courts in this district consider in analyzing whether a party has
demonstrated "good cause" to stay discovery.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c); Richards v. N. Shore
Long Island Jewish Health Svs.. No. lO-CV-4544(LDW)
(ETB),2011 WL 4407518, at *1
(E.D.N.Y. Sept. 21,2011).
The court then issued its second order, which narrowed the scope ofthe Privilege Log
Requirement but denied Defendants' request to stay discovery. (Oct. 17, 2017 Mem.& Order
(the "Oct. 17 M&O")
(Dkt. 86).) With respect to Defendants' arguments that discovery outside
the administrative record was inappropriate, the court noted that Defendants had not identified
any reason why its review ofPlaintiffs' information-use policy and notice claims should be
limited to an administrative record that only purported to document the decision to rescind the
DACA program. (Id at 3-5.) The court declined to vacate the Privilege Log Requirement
before Judge Orenstein decided whether the administrative record was complete. (Oct. 17 M&O
at 5-6.) The court agreed, however,that the Privilege Log Requirement should be narrowed to
exclude materials other than DHS and DOJ communications. (Id at 7-9.) Finally, the court
declined to exempt DOJ from the Privilege Log Requirement, as Defendants had failed to
explain their apparent reversal in position regarding whether Attorney General Sessions was
responsible for the decision to rescind the DACA program. (Id at 9-10.)
The following evening. Defendants renewed their motion to stay discovery, this time
threatening to seek mandamus review ifthe court did not address their objections by 2 p.m. the
following day. (Defs. Oct. 18, 2017, Mot. to Stay (Dkt. 87).) The court ruled expeditiously on
these requests. On October 19, 2017, Judge Orenstein issued an order granting Plaintiffs' motion
to compel Defendants to produce a complete administrative record. (Oct. 19, 2017, Order
Granting Motion to Produce (Dkt. 89).) The same day, this court issued another memorandum
and order, granting in part and denying in part Defendants' motion for a stay. (Oct. 19, 2017,
Mem.& Order (the "Oct. 19 M&O")at 9-11.) In light of Defendants' ongoing (and, this time,
factually substantiated) concerns about the burdens ofcomplying with the Privilege Log
Requirement,the court agreed to stay the Privilege Log Requirement except with respect to
documents directly considered by the Attorney General, Acting Secretary Duke, and their
subordinates who directly advised them on the decision to end the DACA program. (Id.) The
court concluded, however, that Defendants had not demonstrated "good cause" warranting a stay
of discovery(id at 4-9), nor that they were entitled to a stay pending mandamus review(id at
On October 20,2017,the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued an
emergency stay of discovery and record supplementation in proceedings before this court,
contingent on Defendants' filing a full petition for a writ of mandamus by 3 p.m. on October 23,
2017. (Oct. 20, 2017, USCA Order(Dkt. 91).) Four days later, the Second Circuit issued a
second order, which extended the stay pending determination ofthe mandamus petition but
deferred ruling on that petition "until such time as the district court has considered and decided
expeditiously issues ofjurisdiction and justiciability." (Oct. 24,2017, USCA Order(Dkt. 99).)
In light ofthat order, the court directed the parties to file supplemental briefs as to whether the
court "lacks jurisdiction to consider the claims raised in [these cases] or why such claims are
otherwise non-justiciable." (Oct. 24,2017, Order.) In response to that order. Defendants filed
the motion to dismiss currently before the court. That motion not only argues that the court lacks
jurisdiction to hear these cases, but also contends that Plaintiffs fail to state a claim upon which
relief should be granted and that the court should not grant a nationwide injunction, should it
decide that Plaintiffs are entitled to relief.^
® Prior to filing their Motion to Dismiss, Defendants requested and received leave to file an overlong brief"in order
... to fully present their dismissal arguments in these cases." (Defs. Oct. 25, 2017, Appl. for Leave to File Excess
Pages(DlU. 94); Oct. 26,2017, Order Granting Defendants' Application for Leave to File Excess Pages.) That
application did not expressly indicate that Defendants intended to present arguments for dismissal for failure to state
a claim under Rule 12(b)(6), as opposed to just the "jurisdiction and justiciability" arguments specifically referenced
by the Second Circuit's and this court's October 24,2017, orders. Defendants would not have required these excess
pages had they confined their briefing to those issues. (See Oct. 27,2017, Order(Dkt. 98).)
Pursuant to the Second Circuit's direction, the court addresses only "issues ofjurisdiction
and justiciability" at this point in the proceedings. (Oct. 24, 2017, USCA Order; Oct. 27,2017,
Order (Dkt. 98).) Accordingly, the court will consider only those portions of Defendants'
motion to dismiss that challenge the court's subject-matter jurisdiction pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1)
ofthe Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Under Rule 12(b)(1), the court must dismiss a claim "for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction ... when the ... court lacks the statutory or constitutional power to adjudicate it."
Makarova v. United States. 201 F.3d 110,113(2d Cir. 2000). When considering a Rule 12(b)(1)
motion, the court "must take all uncontroverted facts in the complaint... as true, and draw all
reasonable inferences in favor ofthe party asserting jurisdiction." Tandon v. Captain's Cove
Marina of Bridgeport. Inc.. 752 F.3d 239,243(2d Cir. 2014). Nevertheless,"the party asserting
subject matter jurisdiction 'has the burden of proving by a preponderance ofthe evidence that it
exists.'" Id (quoting Makarova. 201 F.3d at 113). "[Wjhere jurisdictional facts are placed in
dispute, the court has the power and obligation to decide issues offact by reference to evidence
outside the pleadings, such as affidavits." Id (quoting APWU v. Potter. 343 F.3d 619,627
(2d Cir. 2003)).
Defendants raise four challenges to the court's authority to hear the above-captioned
cases. First, Defendants argue, these cases are notjusticiable under the APA because the
decision to rescind the DACA program was "committed to agency discretion by law."
5 U.S.C. § 701(a)(2). (Defs. Mem. at 12-17.) Second, Defendants contend that the decision to
terminate the DACA program constitutes a denial of deferred action,judicial review of which is
barred by Section 1252(g) ofthe INA.^8 U.S.C. § 1252(g). (Id at 17-19.) Third,they
maintain, the Batalla Vidal Plaintiffs lack standing to bring certain claims Qd at 28-29, 34-35,
37), and the State Plaintiffs lack Article III standing to bring any claims(id at 19-21). Fourth,
Defendants assert, the State Plaintiffs and MRNY cannot bring claims under the APA because
they assert interests that fall outside the "zone of interests" protected by the INA. (Id at 19-20.)
The court addresses each argument in turn.
A. Committed to Agency Discretion by Law
Defendants first argue that these cases are non-justiciable because the decision to end the
DAGA program was committed to DHS's exclusive discretion by law. The court disagrees.
Certain agency decisions, including decisions not to institute enforcement action, are
presumptively immune from judicial review under the APA because they are "committed to
agency discretion by law."
5 U.S.C. § 701(a)(2); Heckler v. Chanev,470 U.S. 821 (1985).
But the rescission of the DACA program was not such a decision, nor have Defendants explained
why Section 701(a)(2) precludes review of Plaintiffs' constitutional claims or other claims
challenging actions other than the decision to rescind the DACA program.^
1. Statutorv and Equitable Claims
Section 701(a)(2) ofthe APA does not preclude judicial review ofPlaintiffs' statutory
and equitable claims. "Under the APA,a party aggrieved by agency action is generally 'entitled
to judicial review thereof.'" Westchester v. U.S. Dep't of Hous. and Urban Dev.. 778 F.3d 412,
418(2d Cir. 2015)(quoting 5 U.S.C. § 702). "There is a strong presumption favoring judicial
review of administrative action." Salazar v. King. 822 F.3d 61,75(2d Cir. 2016). Judicial
review is not available, however,"to the extent that... statutes preclude judicial review,"
' is not clear whether Section 701(a)(2) limits the court's jurisdiction or instead forms an "essential element" ofa
claim for relief under the APA. Sharkev v. Quarantillo. 541 F.3d 75,87-88(2d Cir. 2008); accord Convers v.
Rossides. 558 F.3d 137, 143 n.8(2d Cir. 2009). Nothing turns on this distinction here, however, because Section
701(a)(2) does not shield Defendants' actions from Judicial review.
5 U.S.C. § 701(a)(1), or "agency action is committed to agency discretion by law," § 701(a)(2).
The latter is "a very narrow exception" to the presumption ofreviewability of agency action
under the APA,and it applies "in those rare instances where 'statutes are drawn in such broad
terms that in a given case there is no law to apply.'" Citizens to Pres. Overton Park. Inc. v.
Volne. 401 U.S. 402,410(1971)(quoting S. Rep. No. 752, 79th Cong., 1st Sess., 26(1945)),
abrogated on other grounds bv Califano v. Sanders,430 U.S. 99(1977); see also Chanev.470
U.S. at 830(agency action is unreviewable "if a statute is drawn so that a court would have no
meaningful standard against which to judge the agency's exercise of discretion"). "To determine
whether there is 'law to apply' that provides 'judicially manageable standards' for judging an
agency's exercise of discretion, the courts look to the statutory text, the agency's regulations, and
informal agency guidance that govern the agency's challenged action." Salazar. 822 F.3d at 76
(quoting Chanev.470 U.S. at 830). These enactments supply "law to apply" because they may
govern the agency's exercise ofits own discretion. See id. at 76-77(citing INS v. Yueh-Shaoi
Yang.519 U.S. 26,32(1996)); Sec'v of Labor v. Twentvmile Coal Co.. 456 F.3d 151,158-59
(D.C. Cir. 2006).
a. "Law to Apply"
Here, there is "law to apply," permitting meaningful judicial review of Plaintiffs'
statutory claims. Plaintiffs assert statutory claims under the APA and RFA. With respect to
Plaintiffs' procedural APA and RFA claims, the relevant"law to apply" is found in the APA and
RFA themselves, both of which specify procedures that agencies must follow when engaging in
"substantive" or "legislative" rulemaking. See 5 U.S.C. §§ 553,604. The process by which an
agency makes a rule may be reviewed for compliance with applicable procedural requirements
regardless of whether the substance ofthe rule is itself reviewable. See Lincoln v. Vigil. 508
U.S. 182,195-98 09931: Am. Med. Ass'n v. Reno.57 F.3d 1129,1134(D.C. Cir. 1995): N.Y.C.
Employees' Ret. Svs. v. SEC.45 F.3d 7,11 (2d Cir. 1995).
There is also "law to apply" permitting meaningful judicial review of Plaintiffs'
substantive APA claims. In order to satisfy Section 706(2)(a), Plaintiffs must identify some
source of law, other than the APA's "arbitrary and capricious" standard, against which the court
can review their claims: "If agency actions could be challenged as 'arbitrary and capricious,'
without reference to any other standard, then § 701(a)(2)'s limitation on APA review would
amount to no limitation at all, and nothing would ever be 'committed to agency discretion by
law.'" Lunnev v. United States, 319 F.3d 550,559 n.5 (2d Cir. 2003). The court agrees that
Plaintiffs have identified "law to apply" to these claims. In deciding to rescind the DACA
program, Defendants expressly and exclusively relied on a legal determination that the program
was unlawful and could not be sustained in court. (Sessions Letter, AR 251; DACA Rescission
Memo,AR 253-55.) The court may review that rationale in light of, among other sources, the
text ofthe INA and other statutes, the history ofthe use of deferred action by immigration
authorities, and the OLC Opinion.'® While Defendants attempt to recast the decision to rescind
the DACA program as the product of a discretionary "balancing ofthe costs and benefits of
keeping the policy in place, on one hand, with the risk of'potentially imminent litigation' that
could throw DACA into immediate turmoil"(Defs. Mem. at 15), that argument is unsupported
by the text ofthe Sessions Letter and the DACA Rescission Memo.
The State Plaintiffs also assert a claim for equitable estoppel. (State Pis. Am. Compl. 246-52.) With respect to
the State Plaintiffs' equitable estoppel claim, the court assumes for the sake ofargument that the relevant "law to
apply" may be found in DHS's past statements and practices regarding the use of DACA applicants' information.
See Salazar. 822 F.3d at 76-77. (S^ State Pis. Am.Compl. 39-44.) The court need not decide this question,
however, because, as discussed below,the State Plaintiffs lack standing to assert this claim. (See infra Section
Defendants' argument that the decision to rescind the DACA program is unreviewable,
notwithstanding the "substantive legal" rationale given for that decision (Defs. Mem. at 15), is
unpersuasive. Defendants correctly note that unreviewable agency action does not become
reviewable simply because "the agency gives a reviewable reason for otherwise unreviewable
action." (Defs. Mem. at 13 (quoting ICC v. Bhd. of Locomotive Eng'rs,482 U.S. 270,283
(1987)("BLE")).) See BLE,482 U.S. at 283("[A] common reason for failure to prosecute an
alleged criminal violation is the prosecutor's belief... that the law will not sustain a conviction.
That is surely an eminently 'reviewable' proposition, in the sense that courts are well qualified to
consider the point; yet it is entirely clear that the refusal to prosecute cannot be the subject of
judicial review."). That argument simply begs the question, however, of whether the decision to
rescind DACA is actually unreviewable. While it may be true that a presumptively unreviewable
decision does not become subject to judicial review simply because the decisionmaker expresses
a "reviewable" rationale," see id., the decision to rescind the DACA program was not inherently
such a decision, as the following section discusses in detail.
b. Prosecutorial Discretion
Nor does the decision to end the DACA program fall within a class of decisions
traditionally regarded as presumptively immune from judicial review under Section 701(a)(2)of
the APA. (Defs. Mem. at 12-14.) Defendants assert that the decision to rescind the DACA
program constitutes "an exercise ofenforcement discretion" that is "entrusted to the agency
alone" and immune from judicial review. (Id. at 15.) The court concludes, however,that the
decision to eliminate the DACA program—a program by which certain undocumented
immigrants could request immigration authorities to exercise prosecutorial discretion with
respect to them—^was not itself a presumptively unreviewable exercise ofenforcement
Defendants rely in particular on Chanev, which held that decisions n^ to take
enforcement action were presumptively not subject to judicial review under the APA. In
Chanev. the Court rejected an attempt by a group of prisoners awaiting execution by lethal
injunction to force the Food and Drug Administration to take enforcement action to prevent the
use of certain drugs for capital punishment.
Chanev. 470 U.S. at 823-25, 830-33. The Court
held that a regulator's refusal to take enforcement action was presumptively unreviewable,
because decisions not to take enforcement action typically "involvea complicated balancing of
a number offactors which are peculiarly within [the agency's] expertise," id at 831, and do not
implicate the agency's exercise of"coercive power over an individual's liberty or property
rights, and thus do not infnnge upon areas that courts often are called to protect," id. at 832.
The decision to rescind DACA is unlike the non-enforcement decision at issue in Chanev.
First, Plaintiffs do not challenge an agency's failure or refusal to prosecute or take enforcement
actions with respect to certain violations oflaw. Instead, they challenge Defendants' affirmative
decision to eliminate a program by which DHS exercised prosecutorial discretion with respect to
a large number of undocumented immigrants. The DACA Rescission Memo curtails (if it does
not eliminate outright) DHS's ability to exercise prosecutorial discretion with respect to
individuals previously eligible to request deferred action. Although the DACA Rescission
Memo notes that it does not limit DHS's "otherwise lawful enforcement or litigation
prerogatives," it makes clear that DHS "[wjill reject all DACA initial requests and associated
applications for Employment Authorization Documents filed after [September 5, 2017]" and
"[w]ill reject all DACA renewal requests and associated applications for Employment
Authorization Documents" inconsistent with the terms of the Memo. This affirmative decision
to constrain DHS's prosecutorial discretion cannot be analogized to an exercise of prosecutorial
discretion, which would be presumptively immune from judicial review. C£ Texas, 809 F.3d at
165-69(creation of the DAPA program was reviewable because it was a "affirmative agency
action," not an exercise ofenforcement discretion). Second,Plaintiffs do not challenge non-
enforcement decisions, which do not subject individuals to the "coercive power" ofthe state.
Chanev. 470 U.S. at 831. To the contrary, the rescission ofthe DACA program subjects
individuals who previously enjoyed some protection from removal to coercive state authority.
Third, Defendants' decision to rescind the DACA program does not appear to have been
motivated by a "complicated balancing of a number offactors which are peculiarly within [the
agency's] expertise." S^ id. Instead, Defendants stated that they were required to rescind the
DACA program because it was unlawful, which suggests both that Defendants did not believe
that they were exercising discretion when rescinding the program and that their reasons for doing
so are within the competence ofthis court to review. (Sessions Letter; DACA Rescission Memo
at 4.) The decision to rescind the DACA program is thus manifestly unlike the non-enforcement
decision at issue in Chanev. While courts have also held that agency decisions to take(as
opposed to refrain from taking) enforcement action are also unreviewable under the APA when
there are no judicially manageable standards for reviewing the agency's discretion in choosing to
bring an enforcement action,
^Speed Mining. Inc. v. Fed. Mine Safetv & Health Rev.
Comm'n.528 F.3d 310,316-19(4th Cir. 2008); Twentvmile Coal. 456 F.3d at 155-59, those
cases are inapposite because there is "law to apply" to review the decision to rescind DACA.
Finally, Defendants' arguments that Section 701(a)(2) precludes judicial review of
Plaintiffs' suits focus on the decision to rescind the DACA program. Defendants do not explain
why the alleged decision to change DHS's policy regarding the use of DACA applicants'
information should be immune from judicial review. To the contrary, there is "law to apply" in
reviewing that decision(namely, DHS's prior statements about the uses of DACA applicants'
information), and the court does not understand how the change in that policy can be analogized
to the sorts of decisions, such as enforcement and non-enforcement decisions, that courts have
recognized as presumptively exempt from judicial review. Accordingly,to the extent the Batalla
Vidal Plaintiffs also challenge DHS's alleged change in information-use policy as part oftheir
substantive APA claim, that claim is reviewable. (SAC Iffl 151,153-54.)
2. Constitutional Claims
Nor does Section 701(a)(2) preclude judicial review of Plaintiffs' constitutional claims.
It is well-established that "even where agency action is 'committed to agency discretion by law,'
review is still available to determine ifthe Constitution has been violated." Padula v. Webster.
822 F.2d 97, 101 (D.C. Cir. 19871: accord Inova Alexandria Hosp. v. Shalala, 244 F.3d 342,347
(4th Cir. 2001); Woodward v. United States. 871 F.2d 1068, 1072-73(Fed. Cir. 1989).
In Webster v. Doe.486 U.S. 592(1988),the Court rejected the Government's argument
that Section 701(a)(2) barred a former CIA employee from bringing constitutional claims
challenging his termination from the agency. Because the National Security Act of 1947 vested
the CIA Director with authority over firing decisions, the decision to fire the plaintiff because of
his sexual orientation had been "committed to agency discretion by law," and he could not
challenge that decision under the APA. Id. at 594-95, 599-601. The National Security Act did
not expressly preclude review of constitutional claims, however,so the Court would not presume
that such claims were unreviewable. Id at 603-04(noting that the Court has held that "where
Congress intends to preclude judicial review of constitutional claims its intent to do so must be
clear," in order to "avoid the 'serious constitutional question' that would arise if a federal statute
were construed to deny any judicial forum for a colorable constitutional claim"(quoting Bowen
V. Mich. Acad. of Familv Phvsicians, 476 U.S. 667,681 n.12(1986))). Similarly, Defendants
identify no express indication that Congress intended to preclude judicial review ofthe actions at
issue in these cases. While DHS undoubtedly exercises "wide discretion ... in the enforcement
ofthe immigration laws"(Defs. Mem. at 16), that is insufficient to preclude review of Plaintiffs'
3. Deference to the Executive Branch on Immigration Matters Does Not
Counsel a Different Result
Lastly, Defendants contend that the court should read Section 701(a)(2) broadly in light
ofthe Executive Branch's wide discretion to enforce the immigration laws. (Id at 16-17.) The
Supreme Court, however, has applied the "strong presumption in favor ofjudicial review of
administrative action" in the immigration context. See INS v. St. Cvr. 533 U.S. 289,299(2001).
Defendants' specific arguments for a broad reading of Section 701(a)(2) likewise unavailing.
While Defendants argue thatjudicial review ofthese cases is inappropriate because review could
slow down the Executive Branch's removal of undocumented immigrants from this country, 8
U.S.C. § 1252(g) already precludes individuals in removal proceedings from delaying those
proceedings by claiming that they were improperly denied deferred action. S^ AAADC,525
U.S. at 485. In any event, those concerns do not apply to these cases, as the court discusses in
Section III.B below. Defendants also argue that judicial review ofimmigration decisions is
inappropriate because judicial review "may involve 'not merely the disclosure of normal
domestic law enforcement priorities and techniques, but often the disclosure offoreign-policy
objectives' or other sensitive matters." (Defs. Mem.at 16(quoting AAADC.525 U.S. at 490).)
Defendants' stated rationale for rescinding the DAGA program, however, turns wholly on
questions of U.S. constitutional and administrative law, not sensitive law-enforcement,
intelligence, or foreign-policy issues. In any event, vague speculation that judicial review might
somehow implicate foreign-policy concerns is insufficient to justify a presumption that
immigration cases are not subject to judicial review.
Washington v. Trump. 847 F.3d 1151,
1161 (9th Cir. 2017)("[T]he Supreme Court has repeatedly and explicitly rejected the notion that
the political branches have unreviewable authority over immigration
"), reconsid. en banc
denied. 853 F.3d 933 (9th Cir. 2017), superseded bv 858 F.3d 1168(9th Cir. 2017). While the
court is sensitive to the deference warranted to the Executive Branch in this sphere. Defendants'
claims for deference cannot substitute for the "clear and convincing evidence" that Congress
intended to restrict judicial review of administrative action. Sharkev v. Ouarantillo. 541 F.3d 75,
84(2d Cir. 2008)(internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
B. INA Jurisdictional Bar
Nor does the INA divest the court ofjurisdiction to hear this case. That Act contains a
provision, 8 U.S.C. § 1252(g), that limits judicial review of certain actions"by or behalf of any
alien arising from" certain deportation proceedings. 8 U.S.C. § 1252(g);
at 472. As explained below,that provision has no bearing on these cases, which do not arise
from one ofthe three specifically enumerated actions by immigration authorities that trigger
application ofthe statute. Moreover, by its terms. Section 1252(g) does not apply to claims
brought by MRNY or the State Plaintiffs.
1. Programmatic Challenges to DACA-Related Decisions
First, the court considers whether Section 1252(g) strips the court ofjurisdiction to hear
Plaintiffs' challenges to the decision to rescind the DACA program. The court begins, as usual,
with the text ofthe statute. In relevant part, Section 1252(g) provides as follows:
Except as provided in this section and notwithstanding any other
provision of law (statutory or nonstatutory)... no court shall have
jurisdiction to hear any cause or claim by or on behalf of any alien
arising from the decision or action by the Attorney General to
commence proceedings, adjudicate cases, or execute removal orders
against anv alien under this chapter.
(emphasis added). As the Court has stated, this "provision applies only to three discrete actions
that the Attorney General make take: her 'decision or action' to 'commence proceedings,
adjudicate cases, or execute removal orders.'" AAADC.525 U.S. at 482. Accordingly, the court
must consider whether Plaintiffs' suits "arise from [a] decision or action by [DHS^^]to
commence proceedings, adjudicate cases, or execute removal orders against any alien." 8 U.S.C.
They do not. Defendants' termination ofthe DACA program does not, by itself,
"commence proceedings, adjudicate cases, or execute removal orders against any alien." Id. By
rescinding the DACA program. Defendants eliminated a set of guidelines identifying a discrete
class of undocumented immigrants who were eligible to apply for deferred action. (See 2012
DACA Memo.) That decision, by itself, did not trigger any specific enforcement proceedings.^^
Nor do the individual Batalla Vidal Plaintiffs attack decisions by DHS to "commence
proceedings, adjudicate cases, or execute removal orders" against them or any other specific
individuals. Each ofthose Plaintiffs has received deferred action (see SAC T|1[ 3-42), and the
record does not suggest that any are currently in removal proceedings and seek to challenge the
end ofthe DACA program as a means of obstructing those proceedings. Instead, Plaintiffs bring
broad, programmatic challenges to Defendants' decisions(1)to end the DACA program;(2)to
provide limited notice ofthat decision to DACA recipients; and (3)to change DHS's
'' As part oftransferring many immigration-related responsibilities from the Attorney General to the Secretary of
DHS,the Homeland Security Act of2002 provides that statutory references "to any department, commission, or
agency or any officer or office the functions of which are so transferred shall be deemed to refer to the Secretary [of
DHS],other official, or component of[DHS]to which such function is so transferred." 6 U.S.C. § 557; Shabai v.
Holder. 718 F.3d48, 51 n.3(2dCir. 2013).
Defendants have represented publicly that no action will be taken against DACA recipients prior to March 5,
2018. (See, e.g.. Donald J. Trump(@realDonaldTrump), Twitter.com (Sept. 7, 2017,6:42 a.m.),
https://twitter.eom/realdonaldtrump/status/905788459301908480("For all ofthose(DACA)that are concerned
about your status during the 6 month period, you have nothing to worry about - No action!").)
information-use policy. None ofthose constitutes a "decision or action ... to commence
proceedings, adjudicate cases, or execute removal orders against any alien." 8 U.S.C. § 1252(g);
cf. Texas, 809 F.3d at 164(creation of DAPA reviewable because "decision to grant lawful
presence to millions of[undocumented immigrants] on a class-wide basis" was not enumerated
in the text of Section 1252(g)). Accordingly, Section 1252(g) does not bar judicial review of
challenges to those decisions.
This conclusion comports with both the plain meaning ofthe statute and with the
Supreme Court's decision in AAADC. First, AAADC makes clear that Section 1252(g)only
limits judicial review with respect to suits arising from certain enumerated decisions by
immigration authorities. Writing for the Court, Justice Scalia specifically rejected the notion that
Section 1252(g) was "a sort of'zipper' clause that says 'no judicial review in deportation cases
unless this section provides judicial review." 525 U.S. at 482. Instead,"[t]he provision applies
only to [the] three discrete actions" referenced above. Id. While "[t]here are ofcourse many
other decisions or actions that may be part ofthe deportation process," the Court stated, "[i]t is
implausible that the mention ofthree discrete events along the road to deportation was a
shorthand way of referring to all claims arising from deportation proceedings." Id Defendants'
argument that Section 1252(g)encompasses challenges to the decision to end the DACA
program because "[t]he denial of continued deferred action is a necessary step in commencing
enforcement proceedings at some later date"(Defs. Mem. at 18), is thus at odds with AAADC.
Second,the reasoning of AAADC does not support extending Section 1252(g)to
encompass challenges to the decision to rescind DACA. In AAADC,the Court reasoned that
Section 1252(g) must have been intended to limit judicial review of denials of deferred action:
Section 1252(g) seems clearly designed to give some measure of
protection to "no deferred action" decisions and similar
discretionary determinations, providing that if they are reviewable
at all, they at least will not be made the bases of separate rounds of
judicial intervention outside the streamlined process that Congress
has designed [(i.e.. for judicial review offinal orders of removal)].
525 U.S. at 485. These limits were "entirely understandable" in order to prevent "the
deconstruction, fragmentation, and hence prolongation of removal proceedings" that could result
if immigrants were allowed to attack in-process removal proceedings by claiming that they were
singled out by immigration authorities for adverse treatment. Id. at 487;
^id. at 487-92.
Because the Batalla Vidal Plaintiffs challenge the programmatic decision to rescind DACA,
rather than attempting to obstruct their specific removal proceedings by claiming that they were
improperly denied deferred action, these cases do not implicate the concern raised in AAADC.
Accordingly, Section 1252(g) does not preclude review of these actions.
2. Claims bv MRNY and the State Plaintiffs
Moreover, Section 1252(g)does not preclude judicial review of the claims brought by
MRNY or the State Plaintiffs in particular. Again,the court begins with the text ofthe statute.
Section 1252(g)only bars suits "bv or on behalf of anv alien arising from the decision or action .
.. to commence proceedings, adjudicate cases, or execute removal orders against any alien."
(emphasis added). But neither MRNY nor the State Plaintiffs are suing "on behalfof any alien"
in removal proceedings or subject to an order ofremoval. Instead, MRNY sues in its own right,
because it claims that the rescission of DACA has interfered with its operations. (SAC
57.) Likewise, the State Plaintiffs sue not "on behalf of any alien," but instead to vindicate their
own proprietary and quasi-sovereign interests. (State Pis. Opp'n to Mot. to Dismiss ("State Pis.
Opp'n")(No. 17-CV-5228, Dkt. 82) at 19-22.) MRNY and the State Plaintiffs seek to assert
their own rights and the rights ofthe general public, not those of individual immigrants in
removal proceedings or subject to orders of removal. There is no reason why Section 1252(g)
would deprive the court ofjurisdiction over their claims, brought on their own behalf.
The court next considers whether Plaintiffs have established that they have standing to
sue. Defendants only cursorily raise Article III standing defenses. (Defs. Mem. at 19-20, 34,
37.) "Because the standing issue goes to this [cjourt's subject matter jurisdiction," however,"it
can be raised sua sponte." Cent. States Se. & Sw. Areas Health & Welfare Fund v. Merck-
Medco Managed Care. L.L.C.. 433 F.3d 181,198(2d Cir. 2005).
Under the U.S. Constitution, federal courts may hear only certain "cases" or
"controversies." U.S. Const, art. Ill, § 2. This "case-or-controversy requirement" means that a
plaintiff must have "standing," or a sufficient interest in a live dispute, to sue in federal court.
See Snokeo. Inc. v. Robins. 136 S. Ct. 1540, 1546-47(2016). At its "irreducible constitutional
minimum," Luian v. Defenders of Wildlife. 504 U.S. 555,560(1992), standing consists ofthree
To establish Article III standing,[Plaintiffs] must demonstrate:"(1)
iniurv-in-fact. which is a concrete and particularized harm to a
legally protected interest; (2) causation in the form of a fairly
While a parens patriae suit is in some sense brought by a state "on behalf of its citizens,"[t]he asserted quasisovereign interests will be deemed sufficiently implicated to support parens patriae standing only if'the injury
alleged affects the general population ofa State in a substantial way.'" Puerto Rico ex rel. Ouiros v. Bramkamp.
654 F.2d 212, 215(2d Cir. 1981)(emphasis added)(quoting Maryland v. Louisiana. 451 U.S. 725,738(1981)). A
state cannot sue parens patriae simply to assert its citizens' personal claims. See Pennsylvania v. New Jersey. 426
U.S. 660,665-66(1976)(per curiam)(collecting cases). To the extent the State Plaintiffs attempt to bring parens
patriae claims based on harm to their quasi-sovereign interests, those claims are not"on behalf of specific
immigrants, but instead seek to protect the general welfare of their residents. In any event, as the court discusses
below,the State Plaintiffs lack parens patriae standing to bring these claims.
traceable connection between the asserted injury-in-fact and the
alleged actions of the defendant; and (3) redressabilitv. or a nonspeculative likelihood that the injury can be remedied by the
Allco Fin. Ltd. v. Klee. 861 F.3d 82,95(2d Cir. 2017)(quoting W.R. Huff Asset Memt. Co.,
LLC V. Deloitte & Touche LLP.549 F.3d 100,106-07(2d Cir. 2008)); accord Luian,504 U.S. at
560-61. The "first and foremost" ofthese three requirements,"injury-in-fact" requires a plaintiff
to "show that he or she suffered an invasion ofa legally protected interest that is 'concrete and
particularized' and 'actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical.'" Snokeo. Inc. v.
Robins. 136 S. Ct. 1540,1548(2016)(internal quotation marks and citation omitted)(quoting
Luian. 504 U.S. at 560). To be "imminent," the injury must be "certainly impending";
"allegations of possible future injury are not sufficient." Clapper v. Amnesty Int'l USA.568
U.S. 398,409(2013)(internal quotation marks, alteration, and citation omitted). The second and
third requirements,"causation" and "redressability," require a plaintiff to demonstrate that the
"injury-in-fact" he or she suffers is "fairly traceable to the challenged action ofthe defendant and
likely to be redressed by a favorable decision." Lexmark Int'l. Inc. v. Static Control
Components. Inc.. 134 S. Ct. 1377,1386(2014)(citing Luian. 504 U.S. at 560). A plaintiff need
not, however, demonstrate that the defendant was the proximate or "but-for" cause ofthe injuryin-fact. Id at 1391 n.6; Rothstein v. UBS AG.708 F.3d 82,91-92(2d Cir. 2013).
The court considers standing separately with respect to each claim raised in each case.
DaimlerChrvsler Corp. v. Cuno. 547 U.S. 332, 352(2006). "[T]he presence of one party with
standing is sufficient to satisfy Article Ill's case-or-controversy requirement" with respect to
each claim and form of relief sought. Rumsfeld v. Forum for Acad. & Inst. Rights. Inc.. 547
U.S. 47,53 n.3(2006)("FAIR"). The court therefore considers whether, for each claim raised in
each ofthese two actions, at least one plaintiff has standing to sue.
1. Batalla Vidal Plaintiffs
a. DACA Rescission Claims
Defendants unsurprisingly do not contest that the Batalla Vidal Plaintiffs have standing to
challenge the decision to rescind the DACA program. Ifthe DACA program ends, the individual
Batalla Vidal Plaintiffs almost certainly will lose their work authorization, the availability of
which tums on their status as recipients of deferred action.
8 C.F.R. § 274a.l2(c)(14). Loss
oftheir ability to work in the United States is clearly an "injury-in-fact" fairly traceable to the
rescission ofthe DACA program. Additionally, ifthey were to lose their deferred action, the
individual Batalla Vidal Plaintiffs would be subject to removal from the United States. There is
nothing "speculative" about the possibility that they would actually be removed. S^ Hedges v.
Obama,724 F.3d 170, 195-97(2d Cir. 2013)(to establish standing, a plaintiff who is clearly in
violation of a "recent and not moribund" statute need not affirmatively demonstrate the
government's intent to enforce the statute, absent"a disavowal by the government or another
reason to conclude that no such intent exist[s]"(quoting Doe v. Bolton,410 U.S. 179,188
(1973))): cf. Amnestv IntT. 568 U.S. at 410-16(no standing where alleged injury-in-fact rested
on a "speculative""chain of contingencies"). Those harms are "fairly traceable" to the
termination of the DACA program and would be redressed by the vacatur ofthat decision. The
Batalla Vidal Plaintiffs thus have Article 111 standing to challenge the decision to rescind the
The Batalla Vidal Plaintiffs also have standing to challenge the process by which
Defendants decided to end the DACA program. Plaintiffs have standing to assert procedural
rights "so long as the procedures in question are designed to protect some threatened concrete
interest... that is the ultimate basis of[their] standing." Luian, 504 U.S. at 573 n.8. "When a
litigant is vested with a procedural right, that litigant has standing if there is some possibility that
the requested relief will prompt the injury-causing party to reconsider the decision that allegedly
harmed the litigant." Massachusetts v. EPA.549 U.S. 497, 518(2007). Here, there is "some
possibility" that if Defendants had subjected the decision to rescind the DACA program to notice
and comment and analyzed the impact ofthat decision on small entities, they would have
reached a different outcome. Accordingly, the Batalla Vidal Plaintiffs also have Article III
standing to assert their procedural APA claim, and MRNY has Article III standing to assert its
Defendants contend that Plaintiffs cannot assert procedural APA claims because, ifthe
decision to rescind the DACA program was a "substantive" or "legislative" rule requiring noticeand-comment rulemaking, then,"a fortiori so was enacting the policy in the first place," and the
DACA program itself was thus "void ab initio—leaving Plaintiffs without a remedy." (Defs.
Mem. at 28-29.) It does not follow, however, that ifthe rescission ofthe DACA program
required notice and comment,the program's creation necessarily required notice and comment as
well. (See Defs. Mem. at 29 n.7.) While Defendants might be correct on the merits(an issue
that the court does not consider or resolve at this time), all that Article III requires is that
Plaintiffs show that their alleged injury would be redressed by the ruling they seek—i^,that the
decision to rescind DACA should be vacated because it was procedurally defective.
b. Information-Use Policy Claim
The Batalla Vidal Plaintiffs also have standing to challenge the alleged changes to DHS's
information-use policy. To obtain deferred action and work authorization under DACA,an
applicant was required to provide USCIS with extensive personal information,including his or
her home address, height, weight, hair and eye color,fingerprints, photograph, and signature, and
submit to a background check. (See USCIS, Form 1-82ID: Consideration of Deferred Action for
Childhood Arrivals(SAC,Ex. B (Dkt. 60-1)) at ECF pp.6-8; USCIS,Instructions for
Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals(SAC,Ex. B (Dkt. 60-1)) at ECF p.3.)
The Batalla Vidal Plaintiffs also allege that DACA applicants "routinely provided" other
personal information,"including copies ofschool records, pay stubs, bank statements, passports,
birth certificates, and similar records," in support oftheir applications. (SAC H 70.) They
contend that this information will enable DHS to deport them more easily once their deferred
action expires. (Id. ^ 127.) The court agrees. It is not difficult to infer that this information
would facilitate DHS's ability to remove these individuals from the country. This increased
likelihood ofremoval is sufficiently concrete,imminent, and traceable to Defendants' alleged
conduct to establish standing.
Defendants argue that Plaintiffs lack standing to pursue their information-use policy
claims because "[n]o Plaintiff plausibly alleges that the agency has in fact used his DACA
information for any enforcement purpose, much less initiated enforcement proceedings against
him as a result, or that there is any imminent threat of this occurring." (Defs. Mem. at 37.) The
individual Batalla Vidal Plaintiffs need not wait, however, until they are deported to have
standing to press this claim. Once their deferred action expires, they will be subject to removal
from the United States, and the court will presume that Defendants will enforce the immigration
laws against them.
Hedges. 724 F.3d at 197. Nor will the court ignore the obvious reality
that many DACA recipients will be removed from the country when their deferred action
expires. (See, e.g.. State Pis. Am. Compl. H 71 (quoting a statement by Acting Director ofICE
Thomas Homan that undocumented immigrants "should be uncomfortable" and "should look
over [their] shoulder[s]" and "be worried").) The threat ofremoval based on information
provided to DHS is sufficiently imminent as to constitute injury-in-fact.
The Batalla Vidal Plaintiffs lack standing, however,to assert their notice claim. In their
Second Amended Complaint, the Batalla Vidal Plaintiffs allege that, following the enactment of
the DACA Rescission Memo,Defendants failed to send DACA recipients whose status expired
by March 5,2018, individualized notices "advising them that they must apply to renew DACA
by October 5,2017 or be forever ineligible to renew their status." (SAC 1165;
^id at 3,
48,103-05,160-66.) As Defendants correctly note, however,the Batalla Vidal Plaintiffs have
not alleged that any ofthem missed the October 5,2017, deadline or suffered other adverse
effects from not receiving such individualized notice. (Defs. Mem. at 34-35.) Nor, even
drawing all reasonable inferences in Plaintiffs' favor, does the Second Amended Complaint
show that MRNY was injured by Defendants' failure to provide DACA recipients with
individualized notice ofthe renewal deadline.'^ While the Second Amended Complaint alleges
that"MRNY has not been able to reach four DACA recipients to inform them that they need to
renew now"(SAC H 48), that does not support the reasonable inferences either that those
individuals failed to apply for renewal or that such failure was "fairly traceable" to Defendants'
actions. In the absence ofa showing that anyone has been harmed by a failure to receive notice
The court also notes that the renewal deadline provided by the DACA Rescission Memo was not significantly
different than that provided by existing DHS policy. The State Plaintiffs allege that "[p]rior to termination of
DACA,a DACA grantee whose renewal status expires in February 2018 would have received an individualized
renewal notice informing the grantee that he or she had to file a renewal 120-150 days prior to expiration ... in
order to avoid a lapse in deferred action and employment authorization." (State Pis. Am. Compl.^ 93.) Under the
DACA Rescission Memo,a DACA recipient whose deferred action and work authorization was set to expire on
March 4,2018, was required to file an application for renewal by October 5,2018—
150 days before those
benefits were set to expire.
Even ifthose conditions were met, it is not clear that MRNY would have organizational standing to bring this
claim. S^ Summers v. Earth Island Inst.. 555 U.S.488,498(2009)("ur prior cases ... have required plaintifforganizations to make specific allegations establishing that at least one identified member had suffered or would
ofthe change to the application deadline, the Batalla Vidal Plaintiffs have not demonstrated that
they have Article III standing to bring this claim.
2. State Plaintiffs
The court next considers whether the State Plaintiffs have Article III standing. As the
Court has noted, the ordinary rules of standing are somewhat different when a state is a plaintiff.
States are "not normal litigants for the purposes of invoking federal jurisdiction," and they are
entitled to "special solicitude" when they seek to vindicate their "proprietary" or "quasi-
sovereign" interests.'^ Massachusetts v. EPA.549 U.S. at 518. This does not mean, however,
that states have unbridled license to sue.
a. The State Plaintiffs Have Standing to Challenge the DACA Rescission
The State Plaintiffs have Article III standing to challenge Defendants' decision to rescind
the DACA program, as well as the procedures by which that decision was made and
implemented, based on that decision's impacts to the State Plaintiffs' proprietary interests.
States,"like other associations and private parties," may have a "variety of proprietary interests"
that they may vindicate in court. Alfred L. Snapp & Son. Inc. v. Puerto Rico, ex rel.. Barez,458
U.S. 592,601-02(1982)("Snapp"). A state has proprietary interests, for example, in its
ownership ofland, id at 601, and in its relationships with its employees, see Indiana v. IRS. 38
F. Supp. 3d 1003,1009(S.D. Ind. 2014)("The Defendants recognize, as they must, that a State
The Court has categorized a state's litigation interests using the trichotomy of"sovereign,""quasi-sovereign,"
and "proprietary" interests. See Alfred L. Snapp & Son. Inc. v. Puerto Rico, ex re!.. Barez.458 U.S. 592,601
(1982)("Snapp"). Proprietary interests are those that a state may have akin to a private party, such as ownership of
land or participation in a business venture. Id at 601. Sovereign interests are interests the state has in its capacity as
a state, such as "the exercise ofsovereign power over individuals and entities within the relevantjurisdiction" and
"the demand for recognition from other sovereigns." Id "Quasi-sovereign" interests are harder to define but
"consist ofa set of interests that the State has in the well-being of its populace." Id at 602; see also id. at 607
("[T]he articulation of[quasi-sovereign] interests is a matter for case-by-case development—neither an exhaustive
formal definition nor a definitive list ofqualifying interests can be presented in the abstract
and its political subdivisions may sue in their capacity as employers."). A state also has
proprietary interests in its "participat[ion] in a business venture," Snapp.458 U.S. at 601, and in
the operation of state-run institutions, such as state colleges and universities, Washington. 847
F.3d at 1159-61; Aziz v. Trump. 231 F. Supp. 3d 23, 32-33 (E.D. Va. 2017).
Here, the State Plaintiffs have amply alleged and documented that the rescission of
DACA would harm the states' proprietary interests as employers and in the operation of state-run
colleges and universities. (State Pis. Am. Compl. H 190 (states employ "[m]any DACA
recipients").). For example,the State of Washington represents that it employs DACA recipients
within state government (e.g.. Decl. of Paul Quinonez
1-6 (State Pis. Am. Compl.,Ex. 56
(Dkt. 55-56)); Decl. of E. Alexandra Monroe ^ 3-4 (State Pis. Am. Compl.,Ex. 62(Dkt. 55-62)))
and at state-run colleges and universities (e.g.. Decl. of Lucila Loera K 4(State Pis. Am. Compl.,
Ex. 58(Dkt. 55-58))). If DACA were rescinded,these employees would lose their work
authorization, and the State of Washington would incur expenses in identifying, hiring, and
training their replacements. (State Pis. Am. Compl.^ 190.) Accordingly, the State of
Washington has standing to assert equal protection and substantive APA claims challenging the
decision to end the DACA program. Moreover, Washington has standing to challenge the
procedures by which Defendants decided to end the DACA program, because "there is some
possibility" that, if DHS complied with notice-and-comment and RFA rulemaking procedures, it
might "reconsider the decision." See Massachusetts v. EPA.549 U.S. at 518. Because
Washington has established its standing to assert substantive and procedural APA and RFA
claims, the State Plaintiffs therefore have Article III standing to bring these claims.
547 U.S. at 53 n.3.
Defendants' arguments that State Plaintiffs lack Article III standing because they would
be only "incidentally" harmed by the rescission ofthe DACA program are without merit. (See
Defs. Mem. at 19.) Defendants protest that "[i]t would be extraordinary to find Article III
standing" based on a state's assertions of"alleged harms to their residents, employees, tax bases,
health expenditures, and educational experiences at their universities," as "virtually any
administration offederal law by a federal agency could have such effects." (Id.) That a federal
policy may have sweeping, adverse effects on states and state-run institutions is not, however,a
convincing argument that states should not have standing to challenge that policy. Moreover,
Defendants' position is irreconcilable with their own stated rationale for rescinding the DACA
program. Defendants have stated that they rescinded the DACA program because it suffered
from the same legal flaws as the DAPA program and could not be defended in court against the
threatened challenge by Texas and other state plaintiffs. That necessarily assumes that at least
one ofthe plaintiff states in the Texas litigation has standing to challenge the existence ofthe
DACA program. Cf. Texas. 809 F.3d at 150-62(finding standing based on the likely costs of
having to issue drivers licenses to DAPA beneficiaries). Defendants offer no convincing reason
why states should have standing to challenge the DACA program but not to challenge the
decision to end that program.'^
Defendants' arguments to the contrary are unpersuasive. (Defs. Mem. at 21.) First, Defendants argue that neither
the Acting Secretary nor the Attorney General "expressly relied upon or gave any indication that they agreed with
the Fifth Circuit's justiciability rulings." (Id) Jurisdiction is, however, a prerequisite to a ruling on the merits, so
the plaintiff states could prevail in their threatened challenge to the DACA program only if they had standing.
Second, Defendants argue that "it was far from arbitrary and capricious for the Acting Secretary to weigh litigation
risk based on judicial decisions without regard to whether those courts had been correct to assert Jurisdiction in the
fu-st place," and that the Executive Branch has "an independent duty to consider the legality of... policies
regardless of whether they are judicially reviewable." (Id.) The DACA Rescission Memo does not indicate,
however, that Defendants actually considered these issues when deciding to rescind the DACA program. Finally,
Defendants argue that the adoption ofthe DACA program could have been reviewed as an abdication of DHS's
statutory responsibilities—a. grounds for justiciability that would not apply to the decision to rescind the program.
(Id. at 21-22.) The Fifth Circuit expressly did not rely on that theory ofstanding, 809 F.3d at 150, nor is there any
indication that the Attorney General or Acting Secretary considered it in rescinding the DACA program.
b. The State Plaintiffs Lack Standing to Bring Notice and Information-Use Policy Claims
Whether the State Plaintiffs can assert their notice or information-use policy claims,
however, is a close question. In order to assert these claims, the State Plaintiffs must identify
some cognizable proprietary or quasi-sovereign interest that was harmed by Defendants'
(1) with respect to the notice claim. Defendants' communication ofits
decision to rescind the DACA program and impose an October 5,2017, renewal deadline; and
(2) with respect to the information-use policy claims, the alleged change in DHS policy
regarding the use ofDACA applicants' information. In the court's view,the State Plaintiffs have
not identified any interests harmed by these actions that they can sue the federal government to
redress, and so they lack standing to bring these claims.
While the State Plaintiffs allege that their proprietary interests will be harmed by the
termination ofDACA (State Pis. Am. Compl. Kt 15, ICQ), they do not identify any proprietary
interests that have been or will be harmed by Defendants' alleged failure to provide DACA
recipients with "adequate notice" ofthe "procedures and timeline for renewing their DACA
status,""about the general termination of the DACA program after March 5, 2018," or "of
[DACA recipients'] inability to apply for renewal oftheir DACA status after March 5, 2018"
276-78; cL State Pis. Mem. at 19-21). It is certainly conceivable that many DACA
recipients who were eligible to renew their deferred action and work authorization under the
DACA Rescission Memo failed to do so before the October 5,2017 deadline. (State Pis. Am.
Compl. K 96(noting that "up to one third of DACA grantees who are eligible for renewal had not
applied as oftwo days before the ... deadline").) The State Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint does
not provide a sufficient basis for the court to conclude, however,that(1)such failures to renew
were "fairly traceable" to Defendants' decision not to provide each DACA recipient with
individualized notice ofthe change in application procedures and timelines; or(2)that these
failures to renew harmed any State Plaintiffs proprietary interests (for example, by depriving a
state employee of work authorization).
Amnesty InfL 568 U.S. at 410-16. Accordingly, the
State Plaintiffs fail to assert a proprietary interest that would give them standing to bring their
Nor do the State Plaintiffs identify a cognizable proprietary interest harmed by the
alleged change to DHS's information-use policy. The State Plaintiffs' information-use policy
claims challenge not the decision to rescind DACA itself, but the alleged changes in DHS's
information-use policy, which. Plaintiffs allege, will facilitate the deportation of DACA
applicants. As discussed above, the court accepts that these changes(iftrue) will likely result in
more undocumented immigrants' removal from the United States. (See State Pis. Am. Compl.
H 86.) The State Plaintiffs have not, however, identified any cognizable harm to their proprietary
interests that would result from the removal oftheir undocumented residents. The State
Plaintiffs have proffered evidence that the removal ofDACA beneficiaries would grievously
affect state economies. (See Deck of Dr. Ike Brannon
12, 14(State Pis. Am. Compl.,Ex.4
(Dkt. 55-4))(estimating that the removal of DACA recipients from the United States "would cost
...the economy as a whole $215 billion in lost GDP," with impacts falling hardest on states
with the largest number ofDACA recipients).) Despite the scale ofthese impacts, the State
Plaintiffs' own authority makes clear that states lack standing to bring a "claim ... that actions
taken by United States Government agencies had injured a State's economy and thereby caused a
In this circuit, the State Plaintiffs need not demonstrate, however,that the individuals they seek to protect must
themselves meet the injury-in-fact, causation, and redressability requirements of Article III. See Connecticut v. Am.
Elec. Power Co.. 582 F.3d 309, 338-39(2d Cir. 2009), affd in relevant part bv an eouallv divided court. 564 U.S.
decline in general tax revenues." Wyoming v. Oklahoma. 502 U.S. 437,448 (1992). Absent
some showing of injury to their own proprietary interests(for example,"direct injury in the form
of a loss of specific tax revenues," id), the State Plaintiffs cannot maintain their information-use
policy claims based on alleged harms to their proprietary interests.
Accordingly,the court will consider whether the State Plaintiffs can assert these claims
parens patriae to vindicate their quasi-sovereign interests. States may bring parens patriae
(literally,"parent ofthe country") suits to vindicate what the Court has characterized as "quasisovereign" interests. S^ Snapp. 458 U.S. at 600-02. There are no bright-line rules for which
interests qualify as "quasi-sovereign." See id. at 600,607; 13B Charles A. Wright et al.. Federal
Practice and Procedure § 3531.11.1, at 117(3d ed. 2008)("Wright & Miller"). In general,
however,the Court has recognized that a state has quasi-sovereign interests in the "health and
well-being—^both physical and economic—ofits residents in general," in protecting state
"residents from the harmful effects of discrimination," and in challenging the discriminatory
denial of a state's "rightful status within the federal system." Id at 607,609. There are,
however, at least two notable limitations on states' parens patriae standing.
First, to be "quasi-sovereign," the state's interests must be sufficiently generalized that
the state is seeking to vindicate its citizens' welfare, rather than simply pressing suit on behalf of
its individual residents.
id at 607("[M]ore must be alleged than injury to an identifiable
group ofindividual residents ...."). A state cannot sue parens patriae when it is "merely
litigating as a volunteer the personal claims of its citizens." Pennsylvania v. New Jersey. 426
Second, special considerations are present when a state brings a parens patriae suit
against the federal government. S^ 13B Wright & Miller § 3531.11.1, at 96. In Massachusetts
V. Mellon. 262 U.S. 447(1923), the Court rejected Massachusetts's attempt to bring a parens
patriae suit challenging a federal statute as unconstitutional.
id. at 485-86. "While the state,
under some circumstances, may sue in [a parens patriael capacity for the protection of its
citizens, it is no part of its duty or power to enforce their rights in respect of their relations with
the federal government. In that field it is the United States, and not the state, which represents
them as parens patriae ...." Id (emphasis added); see also Snapp,458 U.S. at 609 n.l6("A
State does not have standing as parens patriae to bring an action against the Federal
Government."). The Court has rejected the argument, however,that Massachusetts v. Mellon
bars all state parens patriae claims against the federal government. See Ariz. State Legislature v.
Ariz. Indep. Redistricting Comm'n, 135 S. Ct. 2652,2664 n.lO (2015)(observing that "[t]he
cases on the standing of states to sue the federal government seem to depend on the kind ofclaim
that the state advances"(quoting Richard Fallon et al.. Hart and Wechsler's The Federal Courts
and the Federal Svstem 263-66(6th ed. 2009))). Compare Massachusetts v. EPA,549 U.S. at
520 n.l7, with id. at 538-39(Roberts, C.J., dissenting). Instead, states may sue the federal
government parens patriae to enforce rights guaranteed by a federal statute. S^ Massachusetts
V. EPA,549 U.S. at 520 n.l7: see also New York v. Sebelius. No. 1:07-CV-1003(GLS)
2009 WL 1834599, at *12(N.D.N.Y. June 22,2009)(collecting cases). Massachusetts v. EPA
expressly did not disturb the settled rule, however,that a state may not sue parens patriae to
"protect her citizens from the operation offederal statutes." Massachusetts v. EPA.549 U.S. at
520 n.l7(quoting Georgia v. Penn. R. Co.. 324 U.S. 439,447(1945)).
The court concludes that the State Plaintiffs lack standing to bring either their notice and
information-use policy claims. With respect to their notice claim, the State Plaintiffs have not
argued or demonstrated that Defendants' alleged failure to provide DACA applicants with
adequate notice ofchanges in the DACA program and renewal deadline has actually harmed "the
health and well-being" of state residents or any other cognizable quasi-sovereign interest. See
Snapp.458 U.S. at 607. (Cf State Pis. Am. Compl.
15, 100; State Pis. Opp'n at 21-22.) Even
if they had done so, they would be challenging federal enforcement offederal immigration laws
as unconstitutional, which Massachusetts v. Mellon prohibits. S^ Massachusetts v. EPA. 549
U.S. at 520 n.l7("[T]here is a critical difference between allowing a State 'to protect her citizens
from the operation offederal statutes'(which is what Mellon prohibits) and allowing a State to
assert its rights under federal law (which it has standing to do)."). For the same reason, the State
Plaintiffs also lack standing to assert their information-use policy claims. Even assuming, as
discussed above, that the change in information-use policy will facilitate the removal of
undocumented immigrants from these states, and that this removal will harm the "health and
well-being—^both physical and economic" of state residents,^Snapp,458 U.S. at 607,the
thrust ofthe State Plaintiffs' information-use policy claims is to challenge as fundamentally
unfair a change in federal policy that will facilitate the federal government's enforcement ofthe
The State Plaintiffs' argument that they merely seek to "enforce—as opposed to overturn
or avoid—application of a federal statute" is unpersuasive. (State Pis. Opp'n at 21 n.l 1)
Plaintiffs plainly seek to invalidate federal action as unconstitutional. Such claims more closely
resemble constitutional challenges to application offederal statutes, which Massachusetts v.
Mellon prohibits states from asserting parens patriae. than suits to enforce compliance with
federal statutory law, which Massachusetts v. EPA permits states to bring parens patriae. When
challenging federal action on constitutional grounds,"it is no part of[the state's] duty or power
to enforce [its citizens'] rights in respect of their relations with the federal government."
Massachusetts v. Mellon. 262 U.S. at 485-86. But see Aziz. 231 F. Supp. 3d at 31-32
(concluding that"a state is not be barred by the Mellon doctrine from a narens patriae challenge
to executive action when the state has grounds to argue that the executive action is contrary to
federal statutory or constitutional law"(emphasis added)).
The court concludes, therefore, that the State Plaintiffs lack standing to assert their notice
and information-use policy claims.
D. Whether State Plaintiffs Have Cause of Action under the APA
Lastly, Defendants assert that neither MRNY's nor the State Plaintiffs' claims are
justiciable because those Plaintiffs do not assert interests that are "arguably within the zone of
interests ... protected or regulated by the statute ...in question." (Defs. Mem.at 21 (quoting
Clarke v. Sees. Indus. Ass'n. 479 U.S. 388, 395(1987)(first alteration added)).) To bring suit
under the APA,a plaintiff"must satisfy not only Article Ill's standing requirements, but an
additional test: [t]he interest he asserts must be 'arguably within the zone of interests to be
protected or regulated by the statute' that he says was violated." Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish
Band ofPottawatomi Indians v. Patchak. 567 U.S. 209, 224(2012)(''Match-E-Be-Nash")
(quoting Ass'n of Data Processing Serv. Ores.. Inc. v. Camp,397 U.S. 150,153(1970)). This
test "is not meant to be especially demanding'" and "forecloses suit only when a plaintiffs
'interests are so marginally related to or inconsistent with the purposes implicit in the statute that
it cannot reasonably be assumed that Congress intended to permit the suit.'" Id.(quoting Sees.
Indus. Ass'n. 479 U.S. at 399).
Critically, for the court's current purposes, whether MRNY and the State Plaintiffs assert
interests falling within the "zone ofinterests" protected by the APA is not a question of
"jurisdiction" or "justiciability." As the Supreme Court has explained, the question of whether a
plaintifffalls within the zone ofinterests protected by a statute is not properly classed as an issue
of"prudential standing," but is instead an issue of"whether a legislatively conferred cause of
action encompasses a particular plaintiffs claim." Lexmark InfL 134 S. Ct. at 1387. That issue
"goes not to the court's jurisdiction—^that is,'power'—^to adjudicate a case, but instead to
whether the plaintiff has adequately pled a claim." Chabad Lubavitch of Litchfield Cntv., Inc. v.
Litchfield Historic Dist. Comm'n.768 F.3d 183, 201 (2d Cir. 2014) Cciting Lexmark Int'L 134
S. Ct. at 1387 n.4, 1389 n.5); see also Casper Sleep. Inc. v. Mitcham. 204 F. Supp. 3d 632,63738(S.D.N.Y. 2016)(arguments for dismissal for lack of"prudential standing" were
appropriately addressed under Rule 12(b)(6), not Rule 12(b)(1), of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure). Because this argument does not raise an issue of"jurisdiction or justiciability," the
court does not address it here.
For the reasons stated above. Defendants' motion to dismiss for lack of subject-matter
jurisdiction(Dkt. 95)is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART. The following claims
Batalla Vidal v. Duke. No. 16-CV-4756:
o Fourth claim for relief(Due Process Clause—^Notice)
• New York v. Trump. No. 17-CV-5228:
o Second claim for relief(Due Process Clause—Information-Use Policy)
o Third claim for relief(Equitable Estoppel—^Information-Use Policy)
o Seventh claim for relief(Due Process Clause—^Notice)
Defendants' motion to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction is denied with respect to all
other claims. The court RESERVES RULING on Defendants' motion to dismiss for failure to
state a claim.
s/Nicholas G. Garaufis
Dated: Brooklyn, New York
NICHOLAS G. GARAUFIS
United States District Judge
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?