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 ...
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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.Dan Dalton - 12/21/2007