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Case Name Escutia v. Ashcroft IM-CA-0014
Docket / Court 8:00-cv-00841-AHS-AN ( C.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Immigration
Case Summary
On August 25, 2000 plaintiffs brought this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, challenging the pace of the INS' processing of applications for benefits under the Family Unity Program, § 301 of the Immigration Act of 1990. The Family Unity ... read more >
On August 25, 2000 plaintiffs brought this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, challenging the pace of the INS' processing of applications for benefits under the Family Unity Program, § 301 of the Immigration Act of 1990. The Family Unity program allowed the spouses and children of permanent residents who legalized through the 1986 amnesty program to remain and work in the U.S.

Plaintiffs alleged that the INS' California Service Center was not processing applications for Family Unity status in a timely manner such that a two-year backlog of applications accrued. Plaintiffs were represented by the American Immigration Law Foundation, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, and National Immigration Law Center. They asserted claims under § 301 of the Immigration Act of 1990; the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.; the Mandamus Act, 28 U.S.C. §1361; the All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. §1651; the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. §2201; and the Administrative Procedures Act, 5 U.S.C. §701 et seq.

On December 14, 2000, the plaintiffs filed a motion for class certification. Shortly thereafter, the parties began settlement negotiations. Case hearings were continued and eventually the Court entered an order staying all case activity pending submission of a settlement agreement.

On October 28, 2002 the District Court for (Judge Alicemarie H. Stotler) issued an order approving the settlement agreement and certified the case as a class action. The class was defined to include "[a]ll applicants for Family Unity Benefits under Section 301 of the Immigration Act of 199, whose applications are pending at the California Service Center on the date of the Court's final approval of this agreement or are filed with or transferred to the California Service Center during the 15 months will be in effect."

Under settlement agreement the INS agreed to devote sufficient resources towards the adjudication of initial applications for Family Unity benefits filed with the California Service Center and agreed to implement other changes in its processing procedures. The Agreement was to last 15 months, during which time the Court would retained jurisdiction over the case for purpose of enforcing the Agreement.

In 2004, the Court dismissed the case at plaintiffs' request as the defendants had satisfied their obligations under the Agreement

Katie Goodenberger - 06/22/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Immigration
Admission - criteria
Employment
Family
Work authorization - criteria
Work authorization - procedures
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Mandamus, 28 U.S.C. § 1361
Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq.
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1651
Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Defendant(s) Immigration and Naturalization Service
Plaintiff Description All applicants for Family Unity Benefits under Section 301 of the Immigration Act of 1990, whose applications are pending at the California Service Center on the date of the Court's final approval of this agreement and within 15 months thereafter.
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 Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2002 - 2004
Case Closing Year 2004
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)
8:00-cv-00841-AHS-AN (C.D. Cal.) 02/13/2004
IM-CA-0014-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 08/24/2000
IM-CA-0014-0001.pdf | Detail
Settlement Agreement 10/22/2002
IM-CA-0014-0003.pdf | Detail
Order [Approving Class Certification] 10/28/2002 (C.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0014-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice Of Proposed Settlement Of Lawsuit Concerning Immigration Benefits Under The Family Unity Program 10/28/2002
IM-CA-0014-0004.pdf | Detail
Judges Nakazato, Arthur (C.D. Cal.) [Magistrate]
IM-CA-0014-9000
Stotler, Alicemarie Huber (C.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0014-0002 | IM-CA-0014-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Hong, Traci (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0014-0003 | IM-CA-0014-9000
Joaquin, Linton (California)
IM-CA-0014-0003 | IM-CA-0014-9000
Silverman, Mark (California)
IM-CA-0014-0001 | IM-CA-0014-0003 | IM-CA-0014-9000
Wettstein, Nadine K. (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0014-0004 | IM-CA-0014-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Corrales-Talleda, Patricia M. (California)
IM-CA-0014-9000
Walters, Mark C. (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0014-0003 | IM-CA-0014-0004 | IM-CA-0014-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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