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Case Name Proyecto San Pablo v. Immigration and Naturalization Service IM-AZ-0002
Docket / Court 4:89-cv-00456-RCC ( D. Ariz. )
State/Territory Arizona
Case Type(s) Immigration
Case Summary
On August 17, 1989, Proyecto San Pablo, an advocacy organization, and a group of aliens filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, alleging that the INS interpreted and implemented provisions of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 ("IRCA"), 8 U.S. ... read more >
On August 17, 1989, Proyecto San Pablo, an advocacy organization, and a group of aliens filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, alleging that the INS interpreted and implemented provisions of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 ("IRCA"), 8 U.S.C. § 1255a, in an unlawful manner by denying their applications for legalization on the basis of alleged prior deportations.

At issue in the case, was one of two provisions of the IRCA under which undocumented aliens could obtain legal resident status. 8 U.S.C. §1255a established a one-time only legalization program through which aliens can apply for lawful temporary resident status and then, after a one-year waiting period, apply for permanent residency. To qualify for the program, the alien must have meet certain criteria, which included that the alien must establish that he entered the United States before January 1, 1982, and that he has resided continuously in the United States in an unlawful status since such date and through the date the application is filed under this subsection. 8 U.S.C. § 1255a(a)(2)(A). Plaintiffs challenged the INS's interpretation of a provision that further defined this condition: "The Attorney General shall provide that-(i) an alien shall not be considered to have resided continuously in the United States, if, during any period for which continuous residence is required, the alien was outside the United States as a result of a departure under an order of deportation[.]" 8 U.S.C. § 1255a(g)(2)(B)(i).

Plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as class certification. Defendants answered the charges by moving to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction and failure to state a claim.

In July 1990, the District Court (Judge William D. Browning) denied defendants request to dismiss and certified the case as a class action. The class was defined as consisting of "aliens who, at an INS legalization office located within the INS Western and Northern Regions of the United States, made application for change of status under the IRCA; to whose application 8 C.F.R. § 245a.1 was applied; and whose application was denied."

Following class certification, the parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment. On December 19, 1991, the Court (Judge Browning) entered partial summary judgment in favor of plaintiff and ordered the INS to change the way it interpreted the ICRA. Proyecto San Pablo v. Immigration and Naturalization Service, 784 F.Supp. 738, 1 (D. AZ 1989). The Ninth Circuit reversed on jurisdictional grounds. and remanded the case so that the trial court could clarify its order. Proyecto San Pablo v. Immigration and Naturalization Service, 70 F.3d 1279, 4 (9th Cir. 1995).

On remand, plaintiff amended the complaint and defendants again moved to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction and failure to state a claim. The District Court (Judge Browning) granted the defendants' motion to dismiss, finding a lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Proyecto San Pablo v. INS, 4 F.Supp.2d 881 (D.Ariz.1997) Plaintiffs appealed.

The District Court (Judge William B. Browning) held that: (1) legalization applicants are given sufficient opportunity to submit evidence into file; (2) INS's timely publication in Federal Register of notice of process necessary for applicants to gain access to their records satisfied procedural due process notice requirements; (3) absence of copies of waiver applications in applicants' files did not render record inadequate for appeal; (4) court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over claim that denial of one new plaintiff's application for legalization was pretextual; and (5) aliens did not establish existence of subject matter jurisdiction over claim that INS failed to follow proper and lawful procedures in terminating temporary lawful resident status of two plaintiffs. Proyecto San Pablo v. Immigration and Naturalization Service, 4 F.Supp.2d 881, 1 (D. AZ 1997).

On appeal, the Ninth Circuit (Judge B. Fletcher) held that the District Judge applied the wrong analysis when it held that it had no jurisdiction over the case. The Appeals Court determined that jurisdiction had existed for some of plaintiffs' claims and remanded the case back to the trial court for further litigation on those claims. Proyecto San Pablo v. Immigration and Naturalization Service, 189 F.3d 1130, 1 (9th Cir. 1999).

Following the second remand, a trial was held in January 2001. District Judge Browning found in favor of plaintiffs, holding: (1) that INS violated the class members' rights to procedural due process when it failed to provide access to their prior deportation files before making a decision on their legalization application and (2) the INS improperly refused to accept plaintiffs' waiver applications, which precluded those waiver applications from being included in the administrative record and available to a court on subsequent review of a final order of deportation. As a remedial measure, the Court ordered that class members may file motions to reopen their legalization applications, and that the INS was to provide them records of their prior deportation proceedings.

On January 30, 2004, the District Court entered an amended judgment and awarded attorneys' fees to plaintiff in the amount of $735,481.15. Defendants appealed, but the appeal was later dismissed. Further litigation continued over defendants' compliance with the Court's order.

On June 6, 2007, the District Court (Judge Raner C. Collins) ordered defendants to comply with its original order in this matter as it pertains to the adjudication of the class members prior deportations files and waiver applications. Defendants appealed [07-16215].

On December 5, 2008, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Judges William C. Canby, Kim McClane Wardlaw, and Richard Mills) affirmed the district court's order. See Proyecto San Pablo v. Dep't of Homeland Sec., 316 Fed. Appx. 565, 566 (9th Cir. 2008). The court found that the district court's requirement that USCIS adjudicate waiver applications on the merits, merely clarifies and enforces its 2001 Judgment and Order. Therefore, it does not constitute review of the decisions USCIS reaches on the merits, and the district court had jurisdiction to issue such an order.

Proyecto San Pablo filed a motion for the award of attorneys' fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act ("EAJA"), 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d). The court granted Proyecto San Pablo's motion for attorneys' fees and referred to the Appellate Commissioner [Peter L. Shaw] the determination of the award amount.

On June 28, 2010, the Appellate Commissioner awarded plaintiffs $31,161.158 in attorneys' fees and expenses.

Brian Ponton - 08/30/2007
Jennifer Bronson - 11/27/2013


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Immigration
Admission - criteria
Admission - procedure
Deportation - judicial review
Deportation - procedure
Temporary protected status
U.S. citizenship - acquiring
Undocumented immigrants - rights and duties
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA)
Bivens
Defendant(s) Immigration and Naturalization Service
Office of the Legalization Appeals Unit
U.S. Department of Justice
U.S. State Department
Plaintiff Description Aliens who, at an INS legalization office located within the INS Western and Northern Regions of the United States, made application for change of status under the IRCA; to whose application 8 C.F.R. § 245a.1 was applied; and whose application was denied.
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 Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 1991 - n/a
Case Closing Year 2010
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)
4:89-cv-00456-RCC (D. Ariz.) 02/03/2012
IM-AZ-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
(U.S. Court of Appeals) 02/03/2012
IM-AZ-0002-9001.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Order [Granting Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment] 12/19/1991 (784 F.Supp. 738) (D. Ariz.)
IM-AZ-0002-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
[9th Cir. Reversal] 07/13/1995 (61 F.3d 912)
IM-AZ-0002-0012.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Memorandum Opinion 11/20/1995 (1995 WL 688845 / 1995 U.S.App.LEXIS 32948)
IM-AZ-0002-0013.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Opinion 06/17/1997 (4 F.Supp.2d 881) (D. Ariz.)
IM-AZ-0002-0010.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 09/03/1999 (189 F.3d 1130)
IM-AZ-0002-0009.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Federal Register / Vol. 68, No. 19 / Wednesday, January 29, 2003 / Notices 01/29/2003
IM-AZ-0002-0002.pdf | Detail
Federal Register Vol. 68, No. 121 June 24, 2003/ Notices 06/24/2003
IM-AZ-0002-0003.pdf | Detail
Defendants' Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel 04/24/2006 (2006 WL 1407392)
IM-AZ-0002-0001.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Amended Order 06/06/2007 (2007 WL 7647571) (D. Ariz.)
IM-AZ-0002-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice To Class Member In Proyecto San Pablo v. Ins Who Filed Motions To Reopen 08/01/2007
IM-AZ-0002-0005.pdf | Detail
Order 03/04/2008 (D. Ariz.)
IM-AZ-0002-0006.pdf | Detail
Opinion [9th Circuit] 12/05/2008 (316 Fed.Appx. 565)
IM-AZ-0002-0007.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Order (Amending Court Mandate) 06/28/2010 (D. Ariz.)
IM-AZ-0002-0011.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Browning, William Docker (D. Ariz.)
IM-AZ-0002-0008 | IM-AZ-0002-0010 | IM-AZ-0002-9001
Canby, William Cameron Jr. (Ninth Circuit)
IM-AZ-0002-0007
Collins, Raner Christercunean (D. Ariz.)
IM-AZ-0002-0004 | IM-AZ-0002-0006 | IM-AZ-0002-9000
Fletcher, Betty Binns (Ninth Circuit)
IM-AZ-0002-0009
Hug, Procter Ralph Jr. (Ninth Circuit)
IM-AZ-0002-0013
Mills, Richard Henry (C.D. Ill.)
IM-AZ-0002-0007
Poole, Cecil F. (N.D. Cal., Ninth Circuit)
IM-AZ-0002-0013
Wardlaw, Kim McLane (C.D. Cal., Ninth Circuit)
IM-AZ-0002-0007
Wright, Eugene Allen (Ninth Circuit)
IM-AZ-0002-0013
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Gibbs, Robert H. (Washington)
IM-AZ-0002-0008 | IM-AZ-0002-0010 | IM-AZ-0002-9000 | IM-AZ-0002-9001
Goldman, Gloria A. (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0002-0010 | IM-AZ-0002-9000 | IM-AZ-0002-9001
Pauw, Robert (Washington)
IM-AZ-0002-0008 | IM-AZ-0002-0009 | IM-AZ-0002-0010 | IM-AZ-0002-9000 | IM-AZ-0002-9001
Ward, Anne F. (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0002-0008 | IM-AZ-0002-0010 | IM-AZ-0002-9000
Wettstein, Nadine K. (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0002-0010 | IM-AZ-0002-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bernal, David V. (District of Columbia)
IM-AZ-0002-9001
Charlton, Paul (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0002-0001
Keisler, Peter D. (District of Columbia)
IM-AZ-0002-0001
Kline, David J. (District of Columbia)
IM-AZ-0002-0001
McNamee, Stephen M. (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0002-0008
Norwood, Anthony W. (District of Columbia)
IM-AZ-0002-0001 | IM-AZ-0002-9000
Overall, Don B. (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0002-0001 | IM-AZ-0002-0008 | IM-AZ-0002-0010 | IM-AZ-0002-9000
Robins, Jeffrey S (District of Columbia)
IM-AZ-0002-9000
Scadron, Terri J. (District of Columbia)
IM-AZ-0002-0001
Shapiro, Ellen Sue (District of Columbia)
IM-AZ-0002-0008 | IM-AZ-0002-0010 | IM-AZ-0002-9000 | IM-AZ-0002-9001
Wright, M. Jocelyn (District of Columbia)
IM-AZ-0002-0009 | IM-AZ-0002-0010 | IM-AZ-0002-9000 | IM-AZ-0002-9001
Other Lawyers None on record

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