Detainer Class Action Litigation: Jimenez Moreno et al v. Napolitano et al

March 4, 2014

Jimenez Moreno et al v. Napolitano et al, 11-cv-05452 (N.D. Ill) is a federal class action lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for unlawfully detaining immigrants and U.S. citizens identified through local law enforcement agencies.

What are immigration detainers?

Immigration detainers instruct police to continue to detain individuals after the local police’s authority has expired until DHS officers arrive to take the individuals into physical custody. Under the Secure Communities program, when local police make an arrest, they are compelled to send fingerprint information to a federal immigration database, which frequently triggers detainer requests. Detainers have become an important immigration enforcement tool for the Obama administration, allowing DHS to vastly increase deportations while passing the cost on to local law enforcement agencies. DHS issues over 250,000 immigration detainers each year and is the lynchpin of ICE’s enforcement strategy.

How does this lawsuit challenge detainer policy?

The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) use of immigration detainers. The detainers violate the Fourth and Fifth Amendments because:

  1. DHS fails to make a showing of probable cause before a neutral magistrate before issuing detainers;
  2. Does not notify individuals that detainers have been issued against them; and
  3. Provides no means by which individuals can challenge their extended detention.

Additionally, DHS’s use of detainers exceeds its warrantless arrest authority and violates the Tenth Amendment because it compels state and local governments to implement federal immigration law.



About the named plaintiffs:

The class action lawsuit is on behalf of individuals who are suffering or will suffer violations to their constitutional rights as a result of the DHS detainers. The two lead plaintiffs are:

  • Jose Jimenez Moreno, a 34-year-old U.S. citizen who was detained in Winnebago County, Illinois. Mr. Jimenez was arrested on March 21, 2011, in Rockford, Illinois. Without ever interviewing or speaking to him, DHS issued an immigration detainer against Mr. Jimenez on March 22, 2011. As a U.S. citizen, Mr. Jimenez cannot be deported. DHS canceled the detainer against Mr. Jimenez after the lawsuit was filed.
  • Maria Jose Lopez is a lawful permanent resident who was detained at a federal correctional institution in Tallahassee, Florida and has been subject to an immigration detainer since February 1, 2011. The conviction that led to Ms. Lopez’s incarceration is not grounds for deportation under U.S. immigration law. Ms. Lopez came to the United States when she was four years old and today is the primary caregiver to her three U.S. citizen children. Because of the immigration detainer, Ms. Lopez did not qualify for placement in a halfway house and other benefits that would help her care for her children as she serves her criminal sentence. DHS canceled the detainer against Ms. Lopez soon after the lawsuit was filed.

On November 23, 2011, two intervening parties filed a motion to join the class.  The intervening parties are:

  • Sergey Mayorov, a 21-year-old U.S. citizen who was detained in Vienna, Illinois.  Mr. Mayorov was arrested on December 24, 2010 and promptly pleaded guilty in reliance on his eligibility to participate in a “boot camp” diversionary program instead of serving jail time.  Mr. Mayorov entered the 120-day boot camp program on January 25, 2011, but was removed from boot camp on March 18, 2011 and transferred to serve a jail sentence.  Mr. Mayorov was eventually released in April 2012.  Were it not for the detainer, Mr. Mayorov would have been released in May 2011.  As a U.S. citizen, Mr. Mayorov cannot be deported. DHS canceled the detainer against Mr. Mayorov after he sought to intervene in the lawsuit.
  • Nicholas Taylor-Jones, a 21-year-old U.S. citizen who is detained in Pontiac, Illinois.  While he was being processed into custody in December 2008, Mr. Taylor-Jones told an ICE official that he was born in the United States.  ICE nonetheless lodged an immigration detainer against him.  Mr. Taylor-Jones attempted multiple times to show his U.S. birth certificate from Springfield, Illinois and other identifying documents to ICE, but ICE refused to lift the detainer.  As a U.S. citizen, Mr. Taylor-Jones cannot be deported.  DHS canceled the detainer against Mr. Taylor-Jones after he sought to intervene in the lawsuit.

The plaintiffs and intervenors are represented by NIJC’s Mark Fleming, Chuck Roth, and Claudia Valenzuela and Winston & Strawn LLP’s Raymond Perkins, Linda Coberly, Joel Wallace, and Giovanni Angles.

For more information on the case, please contact Mark Fleming at mfleming@heartlandalliance.org

Updates

August 11, 2011: The plaintiffs, through NIJC and pro bono partner Winston & Strawn LLP, filed the complaint along with a motion to certify class.  DHS filed a motion to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction on October 14, 2011.  The intervening parties then filed a motion to intervene on November 23, 2011.  The motion for class certification is currently being held in abeyance. 

November 30, 2012: The court denied the government's motion to dismiss. You can read the judge's opinion here.

September 20, 2013: The parties completed briefing the plaintiffs’ Motion for Class Certification.  The Briefing on the Motion can be found below.  We are currently awaiting a decision from the court.

October 25, 2013: The parties completed briefing on Cross Motions for Judgment on the Pleadings as to the plaintiffs’ claim that ICE’s use of detainers exceeds its warrantless arrest authority and violates the Tenth Amendment.  The Briefing on the Cross Motions for Judgment on the Pleadings can be found below.  We are currently awaiting a decision from the court.

November 1, 2013: Discovery in the case was closed.  We are awaiting the court’s decisions on Plaintiffs’ motion for class certification and Cross Motions for Judgment on the Pleadings before moving forward on the remaining claims. 

Legal Documents

Amended Complaint & Answer

Motion to Dismiss

Class Certification

Judgment on the Pleadings

Redacted Discovery

Plaintiff Written Discovery Requests

Government Written Discovery Responses

Redacted 30(b)(6) Deposition Transcripts

Redacted Government Document Production