University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Cervantes v. Guerra IM-TX-0011
Docket / Court NA ( S.D. Tex. )
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s) Immigration
Case Summary
In 1979, plaintiffs, two legal resident aliens, filed a lawsuit against the Hidalgo County Community Action Agency, Inc. [HCCAA] in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, challenging the Hidalgo County Community Action Agency's bylaws which excluded aliens from serving on its ... read more >
In 1979, plaintiffs, two legal resident aliens, filed a lawsuit against the Hidalgo County Community Action Agency, Inc. [HCCAA] in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, challenging the Hidalgo County Community Action Agency's bylaws which excluded aliens from serving on its board of directors or voting in board elections. The Hidalgo County Community Action Agency, Inc. was a nonprofit corporation organized under Texas law that received federal funds under Title II of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2701-2995d. Plaintiffs alleged the bylaws violated the Equal Protection Clause and the Supremacy Clause. Plaintiffs sought a preliminary injunction to halt the board election. The request was denied.

On February 25, 1980, the district court entered judgment in favor of the plaintiffs, holding that the exclusion of aliens from voting for and serving on HCCAA's board violated the Equal Protection Clause. The Court set aside the board election results and the HCCAA appealed.

On July 13, 1981, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit (Judge Wisdom) reversed the judgment of the District Court, finding that the bylaws passed equal protection scrutiny. The Court also held that the bylaws were not inconsistent with the Economic Opportunity Act or the regulations which interpreted the Act. Cervantes v. Guerra, 651 F.2d 974 (5th Cir. 1981).

Brian Ponton - 08/22/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Federalism
General
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Immigration
Constitutional rights
Status/Classification
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Hidalgo County
Plaintiff Description Two legal permanent residents who were denied the ability to vote or run for positions on their Community Action Agency's board of directors due to their alien status.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 1981
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)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Opinion 07/13/1981 (651 F.2d 974)
IM-TX-0011-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Wisdom, John Minor (Fifth Circuit)
IM-TX-0011-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Powell, George P. (Texas)
IM-TX-0011-0001
Yanez, Linda R. (Illinois)
IM-TX-0011-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Hiester, Travis (Texas)
IM-TX-0011-0001
Other Lawyers None on record

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