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Case Name Silva v. Bell IM-IL-0009
Docket / Court 76 C 4268 ( N.D. Ill. )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Immigration
Case Summary
On November 18, 1976, a class of visa applicants from Western Hemisphere countries whose applications were filed between July 1, 1968, and December 31, 1976, but had not yet been processed, brought suit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, challenging policies ... read more >
On November 18, 1976, a class of visa applicants from Western Hemisphere countries whose applications were filed between July 1, 1968, and December 31, 1976, but had not yet been processed, brought suit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, challenging policies of the Immigration and Naturalization Service in processing their applications. Plaintiffs alleged that the INS unlawfully charged visa numbers that were issued to Cuban refugees who were granted permanent resident status pursuant to the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966 against the annual Western Hemisphere numerical limitation.

In 1976, shortly before the filing of the lawsuit, the Justice Department issued a memorandum that stated "Cuban refugees whose status is adjusted to that of alien admitted for permanent residence are not to be counted against the Western Hemisphere quota." This suit followed.

The District Court (John F. Grady) entered judgment in favor of plaintiffs, finding that the INS' unlawful charging policy violated the Fifth Amendment rights of plaintiffs and ordering that visa numbers they erroneously charged against the Western Hemisphere quota should be allocated among the applicants on the waiting list, chronologically without regard to national origin. The government appealed. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (Circuit Judge Tone) reversed in part and remanded, holding that that the charged visa numbers should be allocated among the Western Hemisphere applicants on the waiting list in accordance with historical immigration patterns for countries involved and not chronologically. Silva v. Bell, 605 F.2d 978 (7th Cir. 1979).

Dan Dalton - 12/05/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Immigration
Constitutional rights
U.S. citizenship - acquiring
Visas - criteria
Visas - procedures
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. ยงยง 1101 et seq.
Defendant(s) Immigration and Naturalization Service
United States Attorney General
Plaintiff Description A class of visa applicants from Western Hemisphere countries whose applications were filed between July 1, 1968, and December 31, 1976, but have not yet been processed.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 1979
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Threats to the Future of the Immigration Class Action
Washington University Journal of Law and Policy
By: Jill E. Family (Widener University School of Law)
Citation: 27 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y 71 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Final Judgment Order 10/10/1978 (1978 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 15038) (N.D. Ill.)
IM-IL-0009-0002.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: LexisNexis
USCA Opinion 10/18/1979 (605 F.2d 978)
IM-IL-0009-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Campbell, William Joseph (N.D. Ill.)
IM-IL-0009-0001
Cummings, Walter Joseph (Seventh Circuit)
IM-IL-0009-0001
Grady, John Francis (N.D. Ill.)
IM-IL-0009-0002
Tone, Philip Willis (Seventh Circuit, N.D. Ill.)
IM-IL-0009-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Goldsmith, Bruce (Illinois)
IM-IL-0009-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Filppu, Lauri Steven (District of Columbia)
IM-IL-0009-0001
Other Lawyers None on record

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