Case: Haitian Refugee Center, Inc. v. Nelson

1:88-cv-01066 | U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida

Filed Date: June 13, 1988

Closed Date: 1991

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

In 1988, the Haitian Refugee Center, the Migration and Refugee Services of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Palm Beach, and several individually named alien farmworkers filed a class action in the U.S. District Court Southern District of Florida, alleging that the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) was conducting the initial application review process of the "Special Agricultural Workers" (SAW) amnesty program in an arbitrary manner, violating the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1…

In 1988, the Haitian Refugee Center, the Migration and Refugee Services of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Palm Beach, and several individually named alien farmworkers filed a class action in the U.S. District Court Southern District of Florida, alleging that the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) was conducting the initial application review process of the "Special Agricultural Workers" (SAW) amnesty program in an arbitrary manner, violating the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 and the applicants' due process rights under the Fifth Amendment.

Under the SAW program, the Attorney General was required to adjust the status of any alien farmworker who could establish that he/she had resided in the U.S. and performed at least 90 days of qualifying agricultural work during the 12-month period prior to May 1, 1986, provided that the alien could also establish his or her admissibility in the U.S. as an immigrant. The qualifying aliens would first be admitted for SAW lawful temporary residence, 8 U.S.C. § 1160(a)(1), and then eventually as lawful permanent residents. 8 U.S.C.§ 1160(a)(2).

Plaintiffs alleged that INS interview procedures were flawed in that they did not allow SAW applicants to be apprised of or challenge the adverse evidence on which their denials were based, that applicants were not allowed to call witnesses on their own behalf, that non-English speaking Haitian applicants were not provided with interpreters, and that administrative review of denials was meaningless because no record of the interviews were made.

The INS moved to dismiss on the grounds that the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 gave the court of appeals exclusive jurisdiction over "determination[s] respecting" a SAW application. The District Court (Judge C. Clyde Atkins) determined that it had jurisdiction, certified a plaintiff class, and granted plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunctive relief. Haitian Refugee Center, Inc. v. Nelson, 694 F.Supp. 864 (S.D.Fla. 1988). The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed. Haitian Refugee Center, Inc. v. Nelson, 872 F.2d 1555 (11th Cir. 1989). The Supreme Court granted certiorari on the limited issue of whether the district court had jurisdiction. McNary v. Haitian Refugee Center, Inc., 496 U.S. 904, 110 S.Ct. 2584, 110 L.Ed.2d 265 (1990).

The Supreme Court (Justice John Paul Stevens) affirmed, holding that the Section of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 which precluded direct review of decisions of INS denying applications for SAW status was limited only on the district court's review of individual denials of SAW status, and did not deprive the district court of jurisdiction to consider a due process challenge to the manner in which SAW provisions were being administered by the INS. McNary v. Haitian Refugee Center, Inc., 498 U.S. 479, 111 S.Ct. 888, 112 L.Ed.2d 1005 (1991).

It is unknown what, if anything, happened with the case after the Supreme Court affirmed the jurisdiction of the district court.

Summary Authors

Dan Dalton (12/21/2007)

People


Judge(s)

Atkins, Carl Clyde (Florida)

Blackmun, Harry Andrew (District of Columbia)

Kaufman, Irving Robert (New York)

Kennedy, Anthony McLeod (District of Columbia)

Marshall, John (District of Columbia)

O'Connor, Sandra Day (District of Columbia)

Rehnquist, William Hubbs (District of Columbia)

Roney, Paul Hitch (Florida)

Scalia, Antonin (District of Columbia)

Souter, David Hackett (District of Columbia)

Judge(s)

Atkins, Carl Clyde (Florida)

Blackmun, Harry Andrew (District of Columbia)

Kaufman, Irving Robert (New York)

Kennedy, Anthony McLeod (District of Columbia)

Marshall, John (District of Columbia)

O'Connor, Sandra Day (District of Columbia)

Rehnquist, William Hubbs (District of Columbia)

Roney, Paul Hitch (Florida)

Scalia, Antonin (District of Columbia)

Souter, David Hackett (District of Columbia)

Stevens, John Paul (District of Columbia)

Vance, Robert Smith (Alabama)

White, Byron Raymond (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Dreeben, Michael R. (District of Columbia)

Guare, Michael D. (Florida)

Kelleher, Maureen T. (Florida)

Kurzban, Ira J. (Florida)

Little, Cheryl (Florida)

Williams, Robert A. (Florida)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Bernal, David V. (District of Columbia)

Chamovitz, Richard (District of Columbia)

Hausman, Allen W. (District of Columbia)

Kenny, Patricia (Florida)

Other Attorney(s)

Frenzen, Niels (Florida)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket (PACER)

Haitian Refugee Center v. Nelson

Sept. 30, 1991 Docket

Order Granting Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Certifying the Class

Haitian Refugee Center, Inc. v. Nelson

694 F.Supp. 864

Aug. 22, 1988 Order/Opinion

[USCA Opinion]

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

872 F.2d 1555

May 23, 1989 Order/Opinion

Order Granting Writ for Certiorari

McNary v. Haitian Refugee Center, Inc.

Supreme Court of the United States

496 U.S. 904

June 4, 1990 Order/Opinion

Supreme Court Opinion

McNary v. Haitian Refugee Center, Inc.

Supreme Court of the United States

498 U.S. 479

Feb. 20, 1991 Order/Opinion

Resources

Title Description External URL

The Oyez Project, McNary v. Haitian Refugee Center., Inc., 498 U.S. 479 (1991).

Oyez Project

Information about the Supreme Court litigation in this case, including audio recordings of the oral argument and opinion announcement, and the written opinion. Feb. 20, 1991 http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1990/1990_89_1332/

Docket

Last updated May 13, 2022

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: Florida

Case Type(s):

Immigration and/or the Border

Key Dates

Filing Date: June 13, 1988

Closing Date: 1991

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Persons who have applied for or will apply for temporary lawful residence status under the SAW program and who have been denied or will be denied SAW status ad a result of defendant's allegedly unlawful practices.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

U.S. Department of Justice, Federal

Immigration and Naturalization Service, Federal

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Ex Parte Young (Federal) or Bivens

Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA)

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Any published opinion

U.S. Supreme Court merits opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Order Duration: 1988 - None

Issues

Immigration/Border:

Employment

Legalization/Amnesty

Status/Classification

Temporary foreign workers program

Work authorization - procedures