In September 1988 the CCR won a significant victory for the Nicaraguan humanitarian aid campaign. The Federal District Court for the Southern District of Texas did away with licensing requirements for humanitarian aid under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), issuing a declaratory judgment barring the President and the Executive Branch from regulating or prohibiting donations of goods to a foreign country “which the donor intends to relieve human suffering and which articles can reasonably be expected to serve that end.”
This ruling means that the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the Department of Treasury is prohibited from carrying out the licensing procedure that it had instituted. U.S. persons are not required to apply for an export license for all donated humanitarian goods.
In February 1989 the victory was cemented when the government withdrew its appeal. Since there are no contrary decisions in any other jurisdiction, U.S. donors may treat this decision as the primary exposition of the law. There is no need to apply for a license for the donation of humanitarian goods . All such goods being shipped overland to Nicaragua through south Texas may not be legally stopped.
Margaret Ratner, Michael Ratner, David Cole, with CCR cooperating attorney Jules Lobel; William H. Beardall Jr., James M. Simons, Steue Somerstein, Stephen A. Dixon , Ricardo de Anda; Israel M. Reyna and Javier Riojas, Texas Rural Legal Aid