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Case Name Perales v. Thornburgh IM-NY-0034
Docket / Court 88 Civ. 2265 (KC) ( S.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Immigration
Attorney Organization MALDEF
Case Summary
On April 1, 1988, a group of aliens brought a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, challenging the Immigration and Naturalization Service's (INS) administration of an amnesty program for illegal aliens authorized by Immigration Reform and ... read more >
On April 1, 1988, a group of aliens brought a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, challenging the Immigration and Naturalization Service's (INS) administration of an amnesty program for illegal aliens authorized by Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, alleging that the "public charge" exclusion regulations were facially invalid and violated the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fifth Amendment and the Administrative Procedure Act.

The IRCA established a one-time only amnesty program through which aliens 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 alien must have (1) applied for such adjustment within the 12-month period between May 5, 1987, and May 4, 1988; (2) lived continuously and unlawfully in the U.S. since January 1, 1982 and that their unlawful status was "known to the government"; (3) been continuously physically present in the United States except for ''brief, casual, and innocent absences,'' since November 6, 1986 and (4) was "admissible to the United States as an immigrant." 8 U.S.C. § 1255a (a)(1)-(4) (1988). With regard to the fourth criterion, the alien had to prove that he was not "likely at any time to become a public charge." See 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(4) (Supp. II 1990). Plaintiffs challenged the INS' regulations implementing how the "public charge" exclusion was determined. 8 C.F.R. § 245a. Those regulations included rules relating to "proof of financial responsibility," 8 C.F.R. § 245a.2(d)(4) and "public cash assistance," 8 C.F.R. § 245a.1(i)(1988).

This case was one of several major lawsuits filed throughout the country, challenging different policies and practices used by the INS to implement the IRCA amnesty program, 8 U.S.C. § 1255a. See Zambrano v. INS, S-88-455 EJG (E.D.Cal.) [IM-CA-8] (dealt with public charge exclusion); Ayuda v. Meese, 88-CV-00625 (D.D.C) [See IM-DC-3 of this collection]; Catholic Social Services v. Reno, 2:86-cv-01343-LKK-JFM (E.D.Cal.) [IM-CA-11]; and LULAC v. INS, 2:87-cv-04757-WDK-CW (C.D.Cal.) [IM-CA-19].

Plaintiffs sought a TRO and preliminary injunction, which were both denied by the District Court (Judge Kenneth Conboy). The Second Circuit affirmed. Perales v. Meese, 847 F.2d 55 (2d Cir.1988).

On March 29, 1989, the District Court denied the parties' cross-motions for partial summary judgment. The parties then entered into a Stipulation and Order, filed July 21, 1989, in which the INS agreed to publish amended regulations relating to the definition of public cash assistance and further agreed to reexamine all timely filed applications that had been denied on public charge grounds.

Following a six-day bench trial, the District Court issued an opinion in which it found in favor of the government on all of plaintiffs' claims, holding that the INS public charge regulations were neither facially invalid nor unlawful as applied. The Court also rejected the plaintiffs' Fifth Amendment Due Process claim (that the INS disseminated misinformation concerning the public charge regulations). Perales v. Thornburgh, 762 F.Supp. 1036, 1061 (S.D.N.Y.1991). The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (Circuit Judge Walker) reversed. Perales v. Thornburgh, 967 F.2d 798 (2nd Cir. 1992). The Supreme Court granted certiorari, vacated the Second Circuit judgment, and remanded the case for further consideration in light of in light of Reno v. Catholic Social Services, Inc., 509 U.S. 43, 113 S.Ct. 2485, 125 L.Ed.2d 38 (1993). Reno v. Perales, 509 U.S. 917, 113 S.Ct. 3027, 125 L.Ed.2d 716 (1993).

On remand, the Second Circuit affirmed the portion of the District Court's judgment that held that the INS satisfied its duty to disseminate accurate information regarding the amnesty program and remanded for further proceedings as to plaintiffs' facial challenge to the public charge regulations. Perales v. Thornburgh, 4 F.3d 99 (2nd Cir. 1992), cert. denied 516 U.S. 1043, 116 S.Ct. 699, 133 L.Ed.2d 657 (1996).

As the PACER docket does not contain any entries and as there were no other published opinions, we do not know what transpired after the case was remanded to the District Court in 1996.

Dan Dalton - 01/04/2008

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Admission - criteria
Admission - procedure
Constitutional rights
Temporary protected status
Undocumented immigrants - rights and duties
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA)
Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Defendant(s) Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS)
Plaintiff Description Aliens whose applications for adjustment under the amnesty program of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, were denied because of the “public charge” exclusion.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations MALDEF
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Unknown
Prevailing Party Unknown
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief Unknown
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 1991
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 ]

1:88-cv-02265-KC (S.D.N.Y.) 04/22/1991
IM-NY-0034-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Memorandum and Order [RE: Motion for Preliminary Injunction] 03/26/1988 (685 F.Supp. 52) (S.D.N.Y.)
IM-NY-0034-0004 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
[Appellate Opinion] 05/19/1988 (847 F.2d 55)
IM-NY-0034-0005 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum and Order 03/29/1989 (1989 WL 43657) (S.D.N.Y.)
IM-NY-0034-0010 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Opinion and Order 04/18/1991 (762 F.Supp. 1036) (S.D.N.Y.)
IM-NY-0034-0006 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
[Appellate Opinion] 06/24/1992 (967 F.2d 798)
IM-NY-0034-0007 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum Decision [Re: Writ of Certiorari] 06/28/1993 (509 U.S. 917)
IM-NY-0034-0011 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
[Appellate Decision] 08/24/1993 (4 F.3d 99)
IM-NY-0034-0008 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Petition for a Writ of Certiorari 09/19/1995
IM-NY-0034-0001 PDF | Detail
Brief for the Respondents in Opposition 11/15/1995
IM-NY-0034-0002 PDF | Detail
Memorandum Decision [Re: Petition for Writ of Certiorari] 01/08/1996 (516 U.S. 1043)
IM-NY-0034-0012 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
[Appellate Opinion] 02/08/1996 (48 F.3d 1305)
IM-NY-0034-0009 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Reply to Opposition to Certiorari 11/29/1996
IM-NY-0034-0003 PDF | Detail
Judges Abrams, Robert W. Court not on record
IM-NY-0034-0005 | IM-NY-0034-0006 | IM-NY-0034-0007 | IM-NY-0034-0008
Cardamone, Richard J. (Second Circuit)
IM-NY-0034-0007 | IM-NY-0034-0008 | IM-NY-0034-0009
Conboy, Kenneth (S.D.N.Y.)
IM-NY-0034-0004 | IM-NY-0034-0006 | IM-NY-0034-0010 | IM-NY-0034-9000
Lumbard, Joseph Edward (Second Circuit)
McLaughlin, Joseph Michael (E.D.N.Y., Second Circuit)
IM-NY-0034-0007 | IM-NY-0034-0008 | IM-NY-0034-0009
Meskill, Thomas Joseph (Second Circuit)
Walker, John Mercer Jr. (S.D.N.Y., Second Circuit)
IM-NY-0034-0007 | IM-NY-0034-0008 | IM-NY-0034-0009
Winter, Ralph K. Jr. (FISCR, Second Circuit)
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Abrams, Robert W. (New York)
IM-NY-0034-0005 | IM-NY-0034-0006 | IM-NY-0034-0007 | IM-NY-0034-0008
Calvo, Janet M. (New York)
IM-NY-0034-0005 | IM-NY-0034-0009
Crotty, Paul Austin (New York)
IM-NY-0034-0001 | IM-NY-0034-0003 | IM-NY-0034-0009
Dolgow, Pamela Seider (New York)
IM-NY-0034-0001 | IM-NY-0034-0003 | IM-NY-0034-0009
Fishman, Ellen B (New York)
IM-NY-0034-0007 | IM-NY-0034-0008
Gordon, Judith A. (New York)
Holwell, Richard J. (New York)
Klein, Hilary B. (New York)
IM-NY-0034-0004 | IM-NY-0034-0005 | IM-NY-0034-0006
Koppell, G. Oliver (New York)
Kovner, Victor A. (New York)
IM-NY-0034-0006 | IM-NY-0034-0007 | IM-NY-0034-0008
Kramer, Judith T. (New York)
IM-NY-0034-0001 | IM-NY-0034-0003 | IM-NY-0034-0004 | IM-NY-0034-0005 | IM-NY-0034-0007 | IM-NY-0034-0009
Langhoff, Andrew P. (New York)
Loffredo, Stephen (New York)
IM-NY-0034-0001 | IM-NY-0034-0003 | IM-NY-0034-0004 | IM-NY-0034-0005 | IM-NY-0034-0006 | IM-NY-0034-0007 | IM-NY-0034-0008 | IM-NY-0034-0009
Marcus, Debra (New York)
McGivern, Joan Morgan (New York)
McQuillen, Mary (New York)
Morrow, Robert J. (New York)
Murthy, Sheela (New York)
Rosenchein, Gail (New York)
Rubin, Gail (New York)
Sanders, Charles F. (New York)
IM-NY-0034-0005 | IM-NY-0034-0006 | IM-NY-0034-0008
Sherwood, O. Peter (New York)
IM-NY-0034-0007 | IM-NY-0034-0008
Stillwaggon, James M. (New York)
Vacco, Dennis C. (New York)
IM-NY-0034-0001 | IM-NY-0034-0003
Young, Michael D. (New York)
Young, Linda (New York)
IM-NY-0034-0001 | IM-NY-0034-0003 | IM-NY-0034-0007 | IM-NY-0034-0008 | IM-NY-0034-0009
Zimroth, Peter L. (New York)
IM-NY-0034-0004 | IM-NY-0034-0005
Defendant's Lawyers Alhadeff, Marla (New York)
IM-NY-0034-0007 | IM-NY-0034-0008
Days, Drew S. III (District of Columbia)
Ferris, Noel (New York)
IM-NY-0034-0004 | IM-NY-0034-0005
Funk, Stephen W. (District of Columbia)
Giuliani, Rudolph (New York)
IM-NY-0034-0004 | IM-NY-0034-0005
Hunger, Frank W. (District of Columbia)
Kekatos, Diogenes P (New York)
IM-NY-0034-0006 | IM-NY-0034-0007 | IM-NY-0034-0008 | IM-NY-0034-0009
Kendall, Robert Jr. (District of Columbia)
Kilson, Nancy (New York)
MacFall, Timothy (New York)
Obermaier, Otto G. (New York)
IM-NY-0034-0006 | IM-NY-0034-0007 | IM-NY-0034-0008
Van De Weghe, Bart G. (New York)
White, Mary Jo (New York)
Other Lawyers Andrade, Vibiana (California)
IM-NY-0034-0007 | IM-NY-0034-0008
Bosniak, Linda (New York)
IM-NY-0034-0007 | IM-NY-0034-0008
Gee, Pauline W. (California)
IM-NY-0034-0007 | IM-NY-0034-0008
Guttentag, Lucas (New York)
IM-NY-0034-0007 | IM-NY-0034-0008
Rosenbaum, Stephen A. (California)
IM-NY-0034-0007 | IM-NY-0034-0008
Rubin, Michael (California)
IM-NY-0034-0007 | IM-NY-0034-0008

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