immigrant activists

Examining the Implications of ICE's Free Speech Suit Resolution

The recent decision of a Washington federal judge in favor of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in a free speech lawsuit, as reported by Micah Danney in Law360, is a significant development in the intersection of immigration enforcement and First Amendment rights. This blog aims to explore the case's details, the judge's ruling, and its broader implications for immigrant activists and immigration law.

Background of the Case

The lawsuit was initiated in October 2018 by two advocacy organizations, La Resistencia and the Coalition of Anti-Racist Whites. They accused ICE of targeting undocumented immigrants who publicly criticized U.S. immigration policies, particularly following the agency's move to deport La Resistencia leader Maru Mora-Villalpando.

The Pause and Resumption of the Case

With the advent of the Biden administration, there was a pause in the proceedings as the new administration worked on new crafting immigration policies. However, the enforcement guidelines introduced did not lead to the groups dropping their suit, leading to a continuation of the legal battle.

ICE's Defense and the Organizations' Counterarguments

ICE argued that the new guidelines explicitly prohibited retaliation against individuals for their speech and claimed that there was no evidence of targeting critics post-implementation of these guidelines. Conversely, the organizations maintained that the guidelines could be reversed and expressed skepticism due to ICE's past policy changes.

The Judge's Ruling

Senior U.S. District Judge James L. Robart granted ICE's motion for summary judgment, effectively siding with the agency. The judge's brief order, pending a more detailed written analysis, suggested that the allegations and evidence presented by the advocacy groups were insufficient to continue the lawsuit.

Implications for Immigrant Activists

This ruling has significant implications for immigrant activists and organizations that are vocal against U.S. immigration policies. It highlights the challenges in proving claims of retaliation and the importance of concrete evidence in such cases.

The Role of Immigration Attorneys

For immigration attorneys, this case underscores the need for a deep understanding of the interplay between immigration law and constitutional rights. Effective legal representation in such complex cases requires not only knowledge of immigration statutes but also an understanding of broader legal principles like free speech.


The resolution of the free speech lawsuit against ICE marks a crucial point in the ongoing discourse on the rights of immigrant activists. As an experienced immigration law firm, we remain committed to navigating these complex legal landscapes and advocating for the rights of our clients in the face of evolving immigration policies and enforcement practices.


This blog is based on the article "Judge Ends Immigrant Activists' Free Speech Suit Against ICE" by Micah Danney, published in Law360 on January 5, 2024.

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