Filed Date: Nov. 12, 1986
Closed Date: Aug. 29, 2014
Clearinghouse coding complete
On Nov. 12, 1986, Catholic Social Services filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, challenging the Immigration and Naturalization Service's ("INS") interpretation of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 ("IRCA"). This case was one of three "late amnesty cases" filed in the federal courts in California against the INS. The other two case were Zambrano v. INS, S-88-455 EJG (E.D.Cal.) and LULAC v. INS; 2:87-cv-04757-WDK-CW (C.D.Cal.).
The IRCA established a one-time only amnesty program through which noncitizens could apply for lawful temporary resident status and then, after a one-year waiting period, apply for permanent residency. 8 U.S.C. §1255a. To qualify for this program, the noncitizen must have been in the United States since Jan. 1, 1982, and must have been continuously physically present in the United States except for ''brief, casual, and innocent absences,'' since Nov. 6, 1986. The INS later issued a regulation that stated if a noncitizen made any departure and subsequent reentry after Nov. 6, 1986, without prior authorization from the INS (known as "advance parole"), the noncitizen would be ineligible for legalization, no matter how brief, casual, or otherwise innocent the absence. As a result of this regulation, the INS rejected applications submitted by noncitizens who had traveled abroad for brief periods during the required period of continuous residence without obtaining advance parole. Plaintiffs challenged the legality of the "advance parole" provision. They sought declaratory and injunctive relief.
The Catholic Social Services case resulted in litigation that spanned more than 20 years and produced a complicated procedural history of appeals to and remands from the Ninth Circuit and Supreme Court. A brief synopsis of that history follows.
Shortly after suit was filed, District Court (Judge Lawrence Karlton) issued a TRO, enjoining the INS from deporting these undocumented noncitizens under IRCA. He also provisionally certified the class as all of the people who have been or may be deported or issued voluntary departure who are considered by the defendant as deportable noncitizens who can establish a prima facie claim or a nonfrivolous claim for adjustment of status to temporary resident. That order was reversed on appeal. Catholic Soc. Servs. v. Meese, 813 F.2d 1500 (E.D. Cal. 1987), opinion withdrawn and vacated, Catholic Soc. Servs. v. Meese, 820 F.2d 289 (9th Cir. 1987).
On June 17, 1987, the district court (Judge Karlton) stated that the "statutory prohibition against the exclusion of aliens applied to those who were apprehended after the effective date of the statute and whose last attempted entry into the United States occurred after the effective date of the statute," favored the grant of injunction due to the hardships of the plaintiffs and the consideration of public interest. Catholic Soc. Servs. v. Meese, 664 F.Supp. 1378 (E.D. Cal. 1987). On May 3, 1988, the court approved the amended definition of the class certification to include: "(1) All person prima facie eligible for legalization under INA § 245A who departed and reentered the U.S. without INS authorization after the enactment of IRCA following what they assert to have been a brief, casual and innocent absence from the U.S.; or (2) all persons having a non-frivolous claim to legalization under INA § 210 who reentered or attempted to reenter the U.S. without INS authorization on or after November 6, 1986." Catholic Soc. Servs. v. Meese, 685 F.Supp. 1149 (E.D. Cal. 1988).
The district court entered judgment in favor of plaintiffs, striking down the INS's advance parole rule. Catholic Soc. Servs. v. Meese, 685 F. Supp. 1149 (E.D. Cal. 1988). The Ninth Circuit affirmed. Catholic Soc. Servs. v. Thornburgh, 956 F.2d 914 (9th Cir. 1992). The case went to the Supreme Court, which vacated the district court judgment and remanded the case as it determined that some of the class members' claims were not ripe. The Court found that some class members had ripe claims, particularly those individuals whose applications had been summarily rejected by an INS legalization assistant due to perceived violations of the challenged travel regulation. (Rejection of the applications outright was known as "front-desking.") Reno v. Catholic Soc. Servs., 509 U.S. 43 (1993).
On remand, the District Court (Judge Karlton) issued a Nov. 1995 order amending the definition of the class to include:
All persons, otherwise eligible for legalization under IRCA, who, after November 6, 1986, depart or departed the United States for brief, innocent and casual absences without advance parole, and who (i) are therefore deemed ineligible for legalization, or (ii) were informed that they were ineligible to apply for legalization, or were refused by the INS or its QDEs legalization forms and for whom such information, or inability to obtain the required application forms, was a substantial cause of their failure to timely file or complete a written application.
The INS appealed the order. While the case was on appeal, Congress amended the immigration laws by enacting the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) of 1996. A provision of that Act sought to limit court review of legalization claims.
In Jan. 1998, the Ninth Circuit found that the newly enacted legislation stripped the district court of jurisdiction over plaintiffs' claims, as none of the named plaintiffs had alleged that they actually tendered an application and fee or tried to do so but had the application "front-desked." Catholic Soc. Servs. v. Reno, 134 F.3d 921 (9th Cir. 1998). The case was remanded for dismissal.
On Apr. 7, 1998, plaintiffs filed a new complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California (which was assigned case #2:98-cv-00629-LKK-JFM), which added claims of plaintiffs whose applications had been front-desked. The new complaint also sought to challenge the constitutionality of the IIRIRA.
Judge Karlton again granted a TRO, and entered a preliminary injunction, prohibiting the deportation of the class of noncitizens qualified to challenge advance parole policy. Catholic Soc. Servs. v. Meese, 1998 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 10429 (E.D. Cal. 1998). Defendants appealed and the Ninth Circuit (Judge O'Scannlain) reversed. Catholic Soc. Servs., Inc. v. I.N.S., 182 F.3d 1053 (9th Cir. 1999). On rehearing en banc, the Court of Appeals (Judge William A. Fletcher) affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded. 232 F.3d 1139 (9th Cir. 2000).
In Dec. 2000 Congress enacted the Legal Immigration Family Equity (LIFE) Act. The LIFE Act repealed the challenged section (§ 377) of IIRIRA. Based on the enactment of LIFE, in August 2001, the District Court (Judge Karlton) reinstated the previously dismissed case (CSS I, docket #86-1343) and consolidated it with the second filed case (CSS II, #98-629).
On Feb. 15, 2002, the District Court (Judge Karlton) amended the class certification to include the class members from CSS I as well as the members "who were not part of the original class, but who were subject to the same statutes requiring that aliens seeking legalization under IRCA must have presented complete application form to legalization officer in order for court to have jurisdiction over cause of action by alien, for limited purpose of challenging the jurisdiction-stripping provisions on Equal Protection grounds." Catholic Soc. Servs. v. Ashcroft, 206 F.R.D. 654 (E.D. Cal. 2002).
Settlement discussions soon followed and an agreement was reached in late 2003. On Jan. 23, 2004, Judge Karlton approved the settlement, which allowed class members to apply for permanent resident status under the amnesty program beginning about Mar. 2004. 2004 WL 5716141 (E.D. Cal. 2004). For the full settlement terms, see the Joint Stipulation Regarding Settlement, which is part of the document collection for this case.
On Mar. 5, 2004, Judge Karlton ordered defendants to pay plaintiffs $3.5 million as full settlement of all claims for attorneys' fees and $100,000 for costs.
On May 15, 2007, Judge Karlton dismissed with prejudice all claims from the complaint as amended, and dissolved any injunctive orders and decisions.
Developments on the docket since 2007 reflect disputes between the parties as to administrative procedures for applications deemed to have been abandoned or by foreign filers; and as to calculation of attorneys' fees.
The docket has no further updates since Aug. 2014. This case is closed.
Erica Woodruff (8/21/2007)
Ava Morgenstern (12/2/2017)
For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5622141/parties/catholic-social-svc-v-orantes/
Alarcón, Arthur Lawrence (California)
Anderson, J. Blaine (Idaho)
Abascal, Ralph Santiago (California)
Bau, Ignatius (California)
Adams, Linda B. (District of Columbia)
Alarcón, Arthur Lawrence (California)
Anderson, J. Blaine (Idaho)
Blackmun, Harry Andrew (District of Columbia)
Browning, James Robert (California)
Fernandez, Ferdinand Francis (California)
Fletcher, William A. (California)
Goodwin, Alfred Theodore (California)
Graber, Susan (Oregon)
Hall, Cynthia Holcomb (California)
Hawkins, Michael Daly (Arizona)
Hug, Procter Ralph Jr. (Nevada)
Karlton, Lawrence K. (California)
Kennedy, Anthony McLeod (District of Columbia)
Kozinski, Alex (California)
Moulds, John F. (California)
Nelson, Thomas G. (Idaho)
O'Connor, Sandra Day (District of Columbia)
O'Scannlain, Diarmuid Fionntain (Oregon)
Rehnquist, William Hubbs (District of Columbia)
Reinhardt, Stephen Roy (California)
Scalia, Antonin (District of Columbia)
Schroeder, Mary Murphy (Arizona)
Sneed, Joseph Tyree III (California)
Souter, David Hackett (District of Columbia)
Stevens, John Paul (District of Columbia)
Thomas, Sidney Runyan (Montana)
Trott, Stephen S. (Idaho)
White, Byron Raymond (District of Columbia)
See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5622141/catholic-social-svc-v-orantes/
Last updated Aug. 2, 2023, 3:26 a.m.
State / Territory: California
Filing Date: Nov. 12, 1986
Closing Date: Aug. 29, 2014
Case Ongoing: No
All noncitizens whose applications for legalization through the amnesty program of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 were denied because of the INS’ advance parole rule.
Public Interest Lawyer: No
Filed Pro Se: Unknown
Class Action Sought: Yes
Class Action Outcome: Granted
Causes of Action:
Prevailing Party: Plaintiff
Nature of Relief:
Source of Relief:
Form of Settlement:
Content of Injunction: