United States District Court, E.D. Washington
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO
O. RICE CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
THE COURT is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 15).
This matter was Submitted for consideration without oral
argument. The Court has reviewed the record and files herein,
and is fully informed. For the reasons discussed below,
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (ECF No.
15) is GRANTED.
case arises from the nonrenewal of Plaintiff Christian Garcia
Herrera's deferred action status under Deferred Action
for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”).
following facts are drawn from Plaintiff's Complaint and
construed in the light most favorable to Plaintiff.
Schwarz v. United States, 234 F.3d 428, 436 (9th
Cir. 2000). Plaintiff is 21 years old and currently resides
in Tonasket, Washington. ECF No. 1 at 6, ¶ 27. Plaintiff
was brought to this country from Mexico in 1998 when he was 1
year old. Id. Plaintiff completed junior high
school, where he excelled academically, and graduated from
high school in Tonasket in June 2016. Id. at 10,
¶ 43. Following graduation, Plaintiff began working as a
firefighter for Washington's Department of Natural
Resources (“DNR”). Id. at ¶ 44.
Plaintiff hopes to one day work in law enforcement.
Id. at 2, ¶ 3.
has been granted deferred action status under DACA for the
past six years. Plaintiff first received deferred status
under DACA in January 2013, and his subsequent renewal
applications were approved in 2015 and 2017. Id. at
11, ¶ 50. Plaintiff also applied for and received work
authorization in conjunction with the grants of deferred
action. Plaintiff's most recently approved renewal
application extended his deferred action status and work
authorization through February 13, 2019. Id.
October 29, 2018, Plaintiff applied to renew his deferred
action status and work authorization. Id. at 12,
¶ 51. Though Plaintiff's circumstances regarding his
eligibility for DACA remained unchanged, as he continued to
satisfy the program's educational and residency
requirements and has no criminal history whatsoever, USCIS
denied Plaintiff's renewal application on November 30,
2018. Id. at 4, ¶ 19; 12, ¶ 51. The
November 2018 denial letter did not identify the factors
USCIS considered or provide a detailed account of the reasons
for USCIS's decision, aside from stating: “You have
not established that you warrant a favorable exercise of
prosecutorial discretion.” ECF No. 4-20.
January 14, 2019, Plaintiff submitted another renewal
application to USCIS, which included additional evidence
regarding Plaintiff's success in school and his work as a
firefighter. ECF No. 1 at 12, ¶ 52. However, on February
5, 2019, Plaintiff's renewal application was again denied
by USCIS. Id. According to Plaintiff, mirroring the
November 2018 denial letter, the February 2019 denial letter
simply stated that Plaintiff did not establish that he
warranted a favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion,
without noting any positive or negative factors considered in
the decision-making process. See ECF No. 4-23.
Following the denial of his renewal application,
Plaintiff's grants of deferred action status and
employment authorization officially expired on February 13,
2019. ECF No. 1 at 11, ¶ 50.
March 25, 2019, Plaintiff initiated this action for
declaratory and injunctive relief against the following
Defendants: Loren Miller, in his official capacity as
Director of USCIS, Nebraska Service Center; Kenneth T.
Cuccinelli, in his official capacity as Acting Director of
USCIS; Thomas D. Homan, in his official capacity as Acting
Director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
(“ICE”); Chrysta Stock, in her official capacity
as Spokane Field Office Director, USCIS; and Kevin K.
McAleenan, in his official capacity as Acting Secretary of
the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”). ECF
No. 1 at 6, ¶¶ 28-32 . Plaintiff contends that
“[t]he government's decisions to deny the renewal
of Mr. Garcia Herrera's DACA status, without meaningful
explanation or process, and in violation of the program's
enumerated eligibility criteria, violate the [APA] . . . as
well as the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the
U.S. Constitution.” Id. at 5, ¶ 22. As
stated in his Complaint, Plaintiff specifically asks this
Court to (1) “declare the government's actions
unlawful, ” (2) “order that the government
re-adjudicate his application for DACA under the
program's existing eligibility criteria using a fair
procedure, ” and (3) “comply with its own rules
and restore his DACA, pending the outcome of the
government's decisions.” Id. at ¶ 23.
April 18, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Temporary
Restraining Order and/or Preliminary Injunction. ECF No. 4.
Plaintiff sought an order from this Court to temporarily
enjoin the denial of Plaintiff's DACA renewal application
pending an eligibility determination that comports with the
Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”), 5 U.S.C.
§ 706(2)(A), and the Due Process Clause of the Fifth
Amendment. ECF No. 4. On May 2, 2019, Defendants collectively
filed a response opposing Plaintiff's motion (ECF No. 9),
and Plaintiff timely replied (ECF No. 11).
8, 2019, the Court denied Plaintiff's Motion for
Temporary Restraining Order and/or Preliminary Injunction.
ECF No. 14. Specifically, the Court found it had jurisdiction
to review Plaintiff's claim, but that Plaintiff was not
entitled to injunctive relief because he could not show he
was likely to succeed on the merits. Id. at 9-18.
10, 2019, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss. ECF No. 15.
On July 1, 2019, Plaintiff filed a response opposing the
motion, ECF No. 16, and Defendants timely replied, ECF No.
The DACA Program
Court previously summarized the DACA program in its Order
Denying Plaintiff's Motion for Temporary Restraining
Order and/or Preliminary Injunction. ECF No. 14. On June 15,
2012, former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano
announced the creation of the DACA program. ECF No. 4-4
(“Napolitano Memo”). In her memorandum, Secretary
Napolitano provided DHS with guidelines regarding the
exercise of its prosecutorial discretion in the enforcement
of “the Nation's immigration laws against certain
young people who came to this country as children and know
only this country as a home.” Id. at 1. The
Napolitano Memo lists the following five criteria that
“should be satisfied before an individual is considered
for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion pursuant to this
• came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
• has continuously resided in the United States for at
least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and is
present in the United States on the date of this memorandum;
• is currently in school, has graduated from high
school, has obtained a general education development
certificate, or is an honorably discharged veteran of the
Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
• has not been convicted of a felony offense, a
significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor
offenses, or otherwise poses a threat to ...