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CITY OF NEW YORK v. UNITED STATES

July 18, 1997

THE CITY OF NEW YORK, and RUDOLPH GIULIANI, as Mayor of the City of New York, Plaintiffs, against THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, and JANET RENO, as Attorney General of the United States, Defendants.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: KOELTL

 JOHN G. KOELTL, District Judge:

 This is an action for declaratory and injunctive relief that presents a facial challenge to the constitutionality of two recently enacted federal statutory provisions that preempt a New York City (the "City") ordinance prohibiting City officials from sharing with federal authorities information about the immigration status of aliens. The plaintiffs allege that Section 434 of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 and Section 642 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (collectively, "Sections 434 and 642") violate the Tenth Amendment *fn1" and the Guarantee Clause *fn2" of the United States Constitution, and principles of federalism, because "(1) they directly prohibit States and localities from engaging in the central sovereign process of passing laws or otherwise determining policy; and (2) they usurp States' and local governments' administration of core functions of government, including the provision of police protection and regulation of their own workforces, in a statute that is not of general applicability." (Compl. P 2.)

 The plaintiffs and the defendants now move for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(c). *fn3" For the reasons explained below, the defendants' motion is granted, and the plaintiffs' motion is denied.

 I.

 On a motion to dismiss, the factual allegations of the complaint are to be accepted as true and all reasonable inferences are construed in the plaintiff's favor. See Gant v. Wallingford Bd. of Educ., 69 F.3d 669, 673 (2d Cir. 1995); Hernandez v. Coughlin, 18 F.3d 133, 136 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 513 U.S. 836, 130 L. Ed. 2d 63, 115 S. Ct. 117 (1994). When reviewing a Rule 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings, the Court applies the same standards as on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. The Court "must view the pleadings in the light most favorable to, and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of, the nonmoving party." Davidson v. Flynn, 32 F.3d 27, 29 (2d Cir. 1994); Madonna v. United States, 878 F.2d 62, 65 (2d Cir. 1989); see also National Ass'n of Pharmaceutical Mfrs., Inc. v. Ayerst Labs., 850 F.2d 904, 909 n.2 (2d Cir. 1988) (indicating that the Court treats a motion for judgment on the pleadings as if it were a motion to dismiss). A court should dismiss a complaint only "if 'it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.'" Valmonte v. Bane, 18 F.3d 992, 998 (2d Cir. 1994) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 2 L. Ed. 2d 80, 78 S. Ct. 99, (1957)). Accordingly, the following facts are accepted as true for purposes of this motion.

 On August 7, 1989, Edward I. Koch, then Mayor of the City of New York, issued Executive Order No. 124, which set forth the City policy concerning aliens. This Executive Order was reissued by both of Mayor Koch's successors. It provides in relevant part:

 
Section 2. Confidentiality of Information Respecting Aliens.
 
a. No City officer or employee shall transmit information respecting any alien to federal immigration authorities unless
 
(1) such officer's or employee's agency is required by law to disclose information respecting such alien, or
 
(2) such agency has been authorized, in writing signed by such alien, to verify such alien's immigration status, or
 
(3) such alien is suspected by such agency of engaging in criminal activity, including an attempt to obtain public assistance benefits through the use of fraudulent documents.
 
b. Each agency shall designate one or more officers or employees who shall be responsible for receiving reports from such agency's line workers on aliens suspected of criminal activity and for determining, on a case by case basis, what action, if any, to take on such reports. No such determination shall be made by any line worker, nor shall any line worker transmit information respecting any alien directly to federal immigration authorities.
 
c. Enforcement agencies, including the Police Department and the Department of Correction, shall continue to cooperate with federal authorities in investigating and apprehending aliens suspected of criminal activity. However, such agencies shall not transmit to federal authorities information respecting any alien who is the victim of a crime.
 
Section 3. Availability of City Services to Aliens.
 
Any service provided by a City agency shall be made available to all aliens who are otherwise eligible for such service unless such agency is required by law to deny eligibility for such service to aliens. Every City agency shall encourage aliens to make use of those services provided by such agency for which aliens are not denied eligibility by law.

 Exec. Order 124.

 On August 22, 1996, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996 (the "Welfare Reform Act"), Pub. L. No. 104-193, 110 Stat. 2105 (1996), was signed into law. Section 434 of the Welfare Reform Act, entitled "Communication between State and Local Government Agencies and the Immigration and Naturalization Service," provides:

 
Notwithstanding any other provision of Federal, State or local law, no State or local government entity may be prohibited, or in any way restricted, from sending to or receiving from the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of an alien in the United States.

 As explained in the Conference Report to the bill,

 
[The conference agreement] does not require, in and of itself, any government agency or law enforcement official to communicate with the INS.
 
The conferees intend to give State and local officials the authority to communicate with the INS regarding the presence, whereabouts, or activities of illegal aliens.... The conferees believe that immigration law enforcement is as high a priority as other aspects of Federal law enforcement, and that illegal aliens do not have the right to remain in the United States undetected and unapprehended.

 H.R. Conf. Rep. No. 725, 104th Cong., 2d Sess. 383 (1996), reprinted in 1996 U.S.C.C.A.N. 2649, 2771.

 On September 30, 1996, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (the "Immigration Reform Act"), Pub. L. No. 104-208, 110 Stat. 3009 (1996), was signed into law. Section 642 of the Immigration Reform Act, entitled "Communication Between Government Agencies and the Immigration and Naturalization Service," provides in relevant part:

 
(a) IN GENERAL. -- Notwithstanding any other provision of Federal, State, or local law, a Federal, State, or local government entity or official may not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service information ...

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