Jacobson, et al. v. DHS, et al.

Jacobson, et al. v. DHS, et al.No. 14-02485 (D. Ariz., filed Nov. 20, 2014) & No. 16-17199 (9th Cir., filed Nov. 30, 2016)

This is a First Amendment case brought against DHS, CBP, and certain named officials for their interference with the plaintiffs’ right to protest, observe, and record activity at the U.S. Border Patrol’s checkpoint on Arivaca Road near the Arizona-Mexico border. Although CBP claims that this checkpoint is temporary, it has been in continuous existence for seven years. Many residents of Arivaca must drive through the checkpoint every day to reach jobs, schools, and shops. The plaintiffs are members of an Arivaca, Arizona community organization that organized a “checkpoint monitoring campaign” in response to a number of complaints of civil rights abuses by agents at the checkpoint. A number of these incidents were detailed in an administrative complaint filed with DHS Office of Inspector General and DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

As part of the checkpoint monitoring campaign, volunteers stood on a public right of way adjacent to the Arivaca Road checkpoint and took notes, photographs, and video recordings of the actions of Border Patrol agents at the checkpoint. Other individuals, also standing on the public right of way, held up signs protesting the checkpoint. Soon after beginning their monitoring activity, Border Patrol agents ordered the volunteers and protestors to move to a spot much further away, where the monitors would have difficulty observing what was happening at the checkpoint. The agents enlisted the assistance of a local law enforcement officer, who also ordered them to move to another spot. The monitors and protestors complied with this order.

Plaintiffs brought this suit, alleging that the defendants interfered with their First Amendment right to protest, observe, and record law enforcement activity in their community. They seek an injunction that would prevent Border Patrol agents from restricting their monitoring activity on the public right of way. In January 2015, Plaintiffs moved for a preliminary injunction.  After oral arguments in April, the court denied Plaintiffs’ motion in September 2015, finding that the Border Patrol’s policy was a valid “time, place, and manner restriction” on Plaintiffs’ speech.

On January 4, 2016, Plaintiffs filed their opposition to Defendants’ motion to dismiss or in the alternative for summary judgment.

On September 30, 2016, the district court granted Defendants’ motions and entered judgment against the Plaintiffs. On November 30, 2016, Plaintiffs appealed the District Court’s decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Briefing was completed in August 2017. The Ninth Circuit heard oral argument on December 5, 2017 in San Francisco.

On February 13, 2018, the Ninth Circuit vacated the district court’s grant of summary judgment to defendants, remanding the case to allow discovery to proceed.

Related documents:

Counsel: ACLU of Arizona, ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, and Covington and Burling.

Contact: Mitra Ebadolahi | ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties | mebadolahi@aclusandiego.org

Kathy Brody | kbrody@acluaz.org