A curious provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) precludes class actions challenging expedited removal, the system of fast-track deportations for individuals who have recently entered the country. The same provision authorizes nationwide relief in non-class actions, but it requires that plaintiffs in such non-class systemic challenges file their claims in the federal District Court for the District of Columbia and that they do so within sixty days of the challenged change to the system. This framework should matter to scholars of nationwide injunctions for two reasons. First, Congress took for granted in 1996 that federal district courts may issue nationwide injunctions without certifying a nationwide class. Second, by limiting individual nationwide actions to a single judicial district, Congress prevented plaintiffs from trying their luck in multiple judicial districts and prevented courts from issuing conflicting nationwide injunctions. The expedited removal statute therefore eliminates two of the most commonly cited harms of non-class nationwide injunctions- heightened plaintiff forum shopping and the possibility of conflicting injunctions. At the same time, it requires a court to issue such injunctions when the federal government violates the law. In other words, this provision illustrates that solving the (real) policy problems posed by nationwide injunctions does not require the drastic measure of limiting all injunctive relief to the plaintiffs. More modest solutions are possible.
When Congress Requires Nationwide Injunctions,
U. Colo. L. Rev.
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