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Case Name Barahona-Gomez v. Reno IM-CA-0009
Docket / Court 4:97-cv-00895-CW ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Immigration
Case Summary
On March 14, 1997, the National Immigration Law Center, the Lawyers Committee For Civil Rights of San Francisco Bay Area and cooperating counsel filed a class action lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, challenging directives of Executive Office for Immigration ... read more >
On March 14, 1997, the National Immigration Law Center, the Lawyers Committee For Civil Rights of San Francisco Bay Area and cooperating counsel filed a class action lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, challenging directives of Executive Office for Immigration Review officials which implemented the Section 309(c) (5) of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA).

When the IIRIRA took effect on April 1, 1997, it made aliens ineligible for suspension of deportation proceedings unless they had been continuously physically present in the United States for a period of seven (7) years at the time that they were served with the initial notice to appear for deportation proceedings. The IIRIRA also imposed a 4,000 person annual cap on the number of suspensions of deportation that could be granted. Thus, after April 1, 1997, some aliens who had satisfied the 7 year continuous physical presence requirement were no longer eligible for suspension of deportation because the time period was calculated differently. Also, because of the 4000 annual limit, many applicants would have qualified for deportation suspension prior to the April 1, 1997 law change, would be deported.

In anticipation of the IIRIRA taking effect, Immigration Review officials issued directives which prohibited immigration judges and the Board of Immigration Appeals from granting suspension of deportation during the period between February 13 and April 1, 1997.) Plaintiffs challenged those directives and sought injunctive relief, as well as class certification.

Following a hearing on March 27, 1997, the District Court (Judge Claudia Wilken) provisionally certified a class of individuals who may have been ordered deported after being denied suspension based on IIRIRA section 309(c)(5) and entered a preliminary injunction which stayed the deportation of all class members.

After IIRIRA took effect on April 1, 1997, the government moved to vacate the preliminary injunction on the basis that the district court had lost subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to the provisions of the IIRIRA. The motion to dismiss was denied and the defendants appealed. The District Court modified the preliminary injunction on September 17, 1997, over the objection of defendants. That order was also appealed.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Circuit Judge Thomas) affirmed. Barahona-Gomez v. Reno, 167 F.3d 1228 (9th Cir. 1999). The case was remanded for further proceedings and for reexamination in light of the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act ("NACARA"), which was passed while the case was on appeal. The NACARA amended Section 309(c)(5) of the IIRIRA and created special rules regarding applications for suspension of deportation by certain citizens of Guatemala, El Salvador, and certain former Soviet countries.

After the appellate decision, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Reno v. American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, 525 U.S. 471, 119 S.Ct. 936, 142 L.Ed.2d 940 (1999) [IM-CA-22] (examining the exclusive jurisdiction clause of IIRIRA). The Ninth Circuit requesting supplemental briefing from the parties to address what impact, if any, the Supreme Court decision had on the case. The Ninth Circuit issued a supplemental opinion, reaffirming the case and holding that that exclusive jurisdiction provision of IIRIRA did not deprive the district court of jurisdiction. Barahona-Gomez v. Reno, 236 F.3d 1115 (9th Cir. 2001).

After the appeals process, the parties engaged in settlement negotiations. A settlement was reached and was submitted to the Court for approval. Following notice to the class members and a fairness hearing, the District Court (Judge Wilken) approved the class action settlement by order dated December 12, 2002. Under the terms of the settlement, eligible class members who could have been granted suspension during the period between Feb. 13 and Apr. 1, 1997, before the IIRIRA took effect, were to be given the opportunity to apply for "renewed suspension" under the standards that existed prior to Apr. 1, 1997.

Dan Dalton - 11/13/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Immigration
Deportation - criteria
Deportation - judicial review
Deportation - procedure
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA)
42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Defendant(s) Attorney General of the United States
Board of Immigration Appeals
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Plaintiff Description All individuals who could have been granted suspension of deportation during the period between Feb. 13 and Apr. 1, 1997, before the IIRIRA took effect.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2002 - n/a
Case Closing Year 2006
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)
4:97-cv-00895-CW (N.D. Cal.) 10/18/2006
IM-CA-0009-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Opinion 02/11/1999 (167 F.3d 1228)
IM-CA-0009-0004 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 01/10/2001 (236 F.3d 1115)
IM-CA-0009-0005 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Notice of Proposed Settlement of Class Action Case 09/13/2002
IM-CA-0009-0002 PDF | Detail
Class Action Settlement Advisory Statement 10/01/2002
IM-CA-0009-0001 PDF | Detail
Settlement Agreement 12/18/2002
IM-CA-0009-0003 PDF | Detail
Judges Hall, Cynthia Holcomb (Ninth Circuit, C.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0009-0004 | IM-CA-0009-0005
Thomas, Sidney Runyan (Ninth Circuit)
IM-CA-0009-0004 | IM-CA-0009-0005
Whaley, Robert H. (E.D. Wash.)
IM-CA-0009-0004 | IM-CA-0009-0005
Wilken, Claudia Ann (N.D. Cal.) [Magistrate]
IM-CA-0009-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Joaquin, Linton (California)
IM-CA-0009-0002 | IM-CA-0009-0003 | IM-CA-0009-0004 | IM-CA-0009-0005 | IM-CA-0009-9000
Jobe, Robert B. (California)
IM-CA-0009-0004 | IM-CA-0009-0005 | IM-CA-0009-9000
Nightingale, Zachary M. (California)
IM-CA-0009-0004 | IM-CA-0009-0005
Rubin, Robert J. (California)
IM-CA-0009-0004 | IM-CA-0009-0005 | IM-CA-0009-9000
Ungar, Don (California)
IM-CA-0009-0004 | IM-CA-0009-0005 | IM-CA-0009-9000
Van Der Hout, Marc (California)
IM-CA-0009-0003 | IM-CA-0009-0004 | IM-CA-0009-0005 | IM-CA-0009-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Burton, Jocelyn (California)
IM-CA-0009-9000
Gluck, Michelle (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0009-0004 | IM-CA-0009-0005
Hunger, Frank W. (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0009-9000
McConnell, David M. (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0009-0002 | IM-CA-0009-0003 | IM-CA-0009-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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