On April 12, 1988, six undocumented aliens filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, challenging regulations issued by the Immigration and Naturalization Service ("INS"), which implemented the legalization provisions 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 cases were Catholic Social Services v. Meese, 2:86-cv-01343-LKK-JFM (E.D.Cal.)[IM-CA-11 of this collection] and LULAC v. INS, 2:87-cv-04757-WDK-CW (C.D.Cal.) [IM-CA-19].
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. In order to be eligible for amnesty under the program, an alien must have satisfied four requirements: 1) a timely application; 2) unlawful residence in the United States since 1982; 3) continuous presence in the United States since the IRCA's enactment; and 4) admissibility as an immigrant. An alien satisfied the 4th requirement, as long as he/she did not fall into one of the statutory exclusions. The Zambrano plaintiffs challenged two regulations issued by the INS which dealt with one such exclusion - the "public charge exclusion," which excluded aliens who would likely be financially dependent on the government. The regulations at issue concerned "proof of financial responsibility," 8 C.F.R. § 245a.2(d)(4) and "public cash assistance," 8 C.F.R. § 245a.1(i)(1988), which applied to how the public charge exclusion was determined.
Attorneys with the San Mateo County Legal Aid Society, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the ACLU Foundation of Southern California, Protection and Advocacy Inc. and private firms represented the plaintiffs.
The Zambrano case resulted in litigation which spanned 12 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.
In 1988, the District Court (Edward J. Garcia) denied defendants' motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1255a(f) and granted class certification to two classes. Class 1 plaintiffs were those aliens who applied for legalization and were denied based on the application of the regulations. Class 2 plaintiffs were those aliens who were discouraged from applying due to the illegal regulations. A preliminary injunction was also issued. Zambrano v. INS, 1988 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17592 (E.D. Cal., August 9, 1988). In 1989, Judge Garcia granted plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment and made the injunction permanent, enjoining the INS from enforcing the challenged regulations, denying work authorizations to or deporting class members.
The INS appealed several of the Court's orders and the Ninth Circuit affirmed. Zambrano v. INS, 972 F.2d 1122 (9th Cir.1992). Certiorari was granted and the Supreme Court vacated the judgment and remanded the case to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for further consideration in light of Reno v. Catholic Social Services, Inc., 509 U.S. 43, 113 S.Ct. 2485, 125 L.Ed.2d 38 (1993) [IM-CA-11 of this collection]. INS v. Zambrano, 509 U.S. 918, 113 S. Ct. 3028, 125 L. Ed. 2d 717 (1993).
After remand to the District Court, the parties unsuccessfully engaged in settlement negotiations. Defendants then moved to dismiss the complaint based on Reno v. Catholic Social Services, Inc. Plaintiffs amended their complaint, dismissing the claims of the class I plaintiffs and adding three new claims, which were allowed to proceed by the District Court.
On September 30, 1996, Congress enacted the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act of 1996 ("IIRIRA"). Defendants asked the court to dismiss the case, contending that the §377 of the 1996 Act destroyed the Court's jurisdiction over the case. The motion was denied. The INS appealed.
While the Zambrano case was on appeal, the Ninth Circuit issued its opinion in Catholic Social Services v. Reno, 134 F.3d 921 (9th Cir.1998). [IM-CA-11]. That opinion held that the District Court had no jurisdiction over the remaining claim in Zambrano. As such, the Ninth Circuit vacated the District Court's orders in Zambrano and remanded the case with instructions to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction in light of the opinion its opinion in Catholic Social Services v. Reno. Zambrano v. INS, 145 F.3d 1344 (9th Cir. Cal. 1998).
On subsequent remand, the Court dismissed the case. Despite the dismissal, plaintiffs moved for attorneys' fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act. The District Court denied their request and plaintiffs appealed. While the fee issue was on appeal, Congress enacted the Legal Immigration Family Equity Act (LIFE). The LIFE Act and subsequent amendments repealed the challenged section (§377) of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996. The legislation also specifically created a new amnesty program for eligible class members of the Zambrano, Catholic Social Services v. Reno, and LULAC cases. Applicants from those cases were granted a new one-year period to apply for lawful permanent residence.
Based on the LIFE legislation, the Zambrano plaintiffs sought to relitigate the jurisdiction issue before the Ninth Circuit. The Ninth Circuit did not reconsider the jurisdiction issue and affirmed the District Court's denial of attorney's fees. Zambrano v. INS, 282 F.3d 1145, (9th Cir. 2002), opinion amended at Zambrano v. INS, 302 F.3d 909 (9th Cir. 2002).
There was no further activity on this caseDan Dalton - 12/18/2007