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State of Florida v. U.S. DHS Complaint

State of Florida v. U.S. DHS Complaint

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Published by Brevard Times
Lawsuit filed by Florida Secretary of State against Department of Homeland Security for access to SAVE database.
Lawsuit filed by Florida Secretary of State against Department of Homeland Security for access to SAVE database.

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Published by: Brevard Times on Jun 12, 2012
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06/12/2012

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTFOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE,500 S. Bronough StreetTallahassee, FL 32399-0250,Plaintiff,v.UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OFHOMELAND SECURITY, UNITED STATESBUREAU OF CITIZENSHIP ANDIMMIGRATION SERVICES, JANETNAPOLITANO, in her official capacity asSecretary of the United States Department of Homeland Security, and ALEJANDROMAYORKAS, in his official capacity as Directorof the United States Bureau of Citizenship andImmigration Services,Defendants.Civil No. ______________
COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY JUDGMENT AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
Federal law confers upon Plaintiff, the Florida Department of State (“FDOS”), a statutoryright of access to the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements Program System of Records(“SAVE Program”). Despite FDOS’s repeated requests to exercise this statutory right of accessto the SAVE Program, Defendants Department of Homeland Security et al. have refused toprovide FDOS with the access to which it is entitled.Defendants’ unwarranted delay and recalcitrance in fulfilling its statutory obligation toprovide SAVE Program access has unjustifiably interfered with FDOS’s ability to fulfill its ownstatutory obligation to protect the integrity of elections and maintain current and accurate voterregistration rolls. Immediate access is, therefore, required to ensure that the SAVE Programoperates as intended and “assists … state[s] … [in] confirm[ing] immigration status information,1
 
 
to the extent that such disclosure is necessary to enable [them] to make decisions related to …any legal purpose, such as … voter registration.”
 Notice of Revision and Republication of Privacy Act System of Records
, 76 Fed. Reg. 58525, 58528 (Sept. 21, 2011). Accordingly,FDOS, by and through Secretary of State Ken Detzner, seeks a declaratory judgment thatDefendants are required by federal law to grant FDOS access to the SAVE Program andinjunctive relief compelling Defendants to give FDOS immediate access to the SAVE Program.
I.PARTIES
1. FDOS is an agency of the State of Florida. FDOS is “suffering legal wrongbecause of agency action” and is “adversely affected or aggrieved by agency action within themeaning” of 8 U.S.C. § 1373(c), which provides that DHS “shall respond to an inquiry by aFederal, State, or local government agency, seeking to verify or ascertain the citizenship orimmigration status of any individual within the jurisdiction of the agency for any purposeauthorized by law, by providing the requested verification or status information.FDOS is thusa proper plaintiff under the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 702.2. Ken Detzner, in his official capacity as the Secretary of State of Florida, isFlorida’s Chief Elections Officer and the head of the Department of State. Fla. Stat. §§ 20.10(1),97.012. In his capacity as Secretary of State and Chief Elections Officer, Secretary Detzner hasa responsibility under both state and federal laws to ensure that Florida’s voter registration rollsare current and accurate.
See
Fla. Stat. § 98.075 (providing that FDOS “shall protect theintegrity of the electoral process by ensuring the maintenance of accurate and current voterregistration records”); Fla. Stat. § 98.093 (requiring FDOS to access information from state andfederal officials “[i]n order to identify ineligible registered voters and maintain accurate andcurrent voter registration records in the statewide voter registration system”); 42 U.S.C. §2
 
 
15483(a)(4) (requiring states to “ensure that voter registration records in the State are accurate”and make a “reasonable effort to remove registrants who are ineligible to vote from the officiallist of eligible voters”). Permitting ineligible, non-citizen voters to cast ballots undermines thatmission and erodes the justified faith the electorate has in the fairness and reliability of theelectoral process.3. Defendants are the United States Department of Homeland Security, JanetNapolitano, in her official capacity as Secretary of the United States Department of HomelandSecurity, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”), and AlejandroMayorkas, in his official capacity as Director of USCIS, (collectively, “DHS”). DefendantUnited States Department of Homeland Security is a federal agency headquartered inWashington, D.C., which administers the SAVE Program through USCIS, a federal agencywithin the United States Department of Homeland Security that is also headquartered inWashington, D.C. Each Defendant is either an agency of the United States or an officer oremployee of an agency of the United States and has acted or failed to act in an official capacityand under color of legal authority. 5 U.S.C. § 702. They are thus proper defendants under theAdministrative Procedure Act.
II.JURISDICTION AND VENUE
4. This Court has subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, because thisaction arises under the Constitution and laws of the United States. This Court has authority toorder declaratory relief under 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201 and 2202 because there is a live controversybetween Plaintiff and Defendants that includes a dispute over whether Defendants are statutorilyobligated to provide FDOS with timely access to the SAVE Program. This Court has authorityto issue a Writ of Mandamus under 28 U.S.C. § 1361 because Plaintiff seeks a Writ requiring3

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