The Implausible Alien: IQBAL and the Influence of Immigration Law

25 Pages Posted: 25 Feb 2010 Last revised: 29 Mar 2010

See all articles by Juliet P. Stumpf

Juliet P. Stumpf

Lewis & Clark College - Lewis & Clark Law School; University of Oxford - Border Criminologies; Lewis & Clark College Paul L Boley Library

Date Written: February 22, 2010


This Article addresses the subterranean impact of immigration law on the outcome of Ashcroft v. Iqbal, a watershed case for civil pleading standards. In a new generation of cases seeking remedies for alleged mistreatment by high-level government officials, immigration law is exercising a quiet but powerful influence. Due to Iqbal, that influence will have a tremendous impact on the survival of civil complaints generally. The Supreme Court’s adoption of a heightened civil pleading standard results from the limits that the immigration context placed on the scope of Iqbal’s claims. This Article unearths the relevance of Iqbal’s immigration status through comparison with two cases that apply Iqbal’s holding to U.S. citizens in circumstances strikingly similar to Iqbal’s, yet rule in favor of the plaintiffs. In each case, the courts seized upon U.S. citizenship as the distinction that made the difference. The Article concludes that Iqbal relies on a questionable subtextual link between immigration law, national security, and ethnicity and religion.

Keywords: Iqbal, immigration, crimmigration, pleading, citizen, citizenship, national security, civil procedure, ethnicity, religion

Suggested Citation

Stumpf, Juliet P., The Implausible Alien: IQBAL and the Influence of Immigration Law (February 22, 2010). Lewis & Clark Law Review, Vol. 14, No. 231, 2010, Lewis & Clark Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010-6, Available at SSRN:

Juliet P. Stumpf (Contact Author)

Lewis & Clark College - Lewis & Clark Law School ( email )

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Portland, 97219-7762

University of Oxford - Border Criminologies ( email )

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Oxford, OX1 3UQ
United Kingdom

Lewis & Clark College Paul L Boley Library ( email )

10101 S. Terwilliger Blvd.
Portland, OR 97219
United States

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