On March 6, 2007, a coalition of social justice and immigrant rights groups, led by Catholic Charities CYO, filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief compelling the federal government to implement the "U" visa program. The U visa program was part of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(15)(U), ("VTVPA"), which permitted immigrants who were victims of serious crimes and who assisted law enforcement to apply for and receive U visas. Immigrants holding a U visa for three years could apply for lawful permanent resident status. Plaintiffs alleged that for six years the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") failed to implement the U visa program, thereby denying immigrant benefits that Congress intended. Plaintiffs alleged claims under the Victims Protection Act of 2000, 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(15)(U); the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1103; the Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005; the Administrative Procedure Act, §§ 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.; the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution; and Article II, §§ 1 and 3, of the United States Constitution. Attorneys with the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, the Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach, the Sanctuary for Families, the Brooklyn Family Justice Center, the Public Law Center, the API Legal Outreach and the Central American Resource Center represented plaintiffs.
The government moved to dismiss the entire case on grounds which included lack of standing, lack of jurisdiction, and failure to state a claim.
On August 16, 2007, the District Court (Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton) granted the government's motion to dismiss in part as to plaintiffs' claims under Article II of the Constitution. The motion was denied as to all other claims. The Court ordered the government to file a monthly report outlining the status of enacting the regulations at issue. Catholic Charities CYO v. Chertoff, 2007 WL 2344995 (N.D.Cal. Aug. 16, 2007).
On February 20, 2008, plaintiffs filed an amended complaint, which defendants moved to dismiss on March 31, 2008.
On December 22, 2008, the court granted defendants' motion to dismiss. Catholic Charities CYO v. Chertoff, 622 F. Supp. 2d 865 (N.D. Cal. 2008) aff'd sub nom. Catholic Charities CYO v. Napolitano, 368 F. App'x 750 (9th Cir. 2010). The court found that: (1) plaintiffs' claims as to failure to implement the visa program or issue necessary regulations were moot; (2) plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge delay in promulgating necessary regulations or failure to grant visas; (3) plaintiffs' claims regarding derivative visa eligibility were moot in light of a guidance document by USCIS; (4) VTVPA provided no private cause of action for imposition of unreasonable requirements for law enforcement certifications (LECs) and refusal to issue employment authorizations; (5) plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge failure to issue LECs; and (6) plaintiffs' due process and equal protection rights were not violated by failure to timely implement program.
Plaintiffs appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on February 11, 2008. While the appeal was pending, the district court entered final judgment on August 6, 2009.
On February 25, 2010, the Court of Appeals (Judges Alex Kozinksi, David R. Thompson, M. Margaret McKeown) affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiffs' claims. Catholic Charities CYO v. Napolitano, 368 F. App'x 750 (9th Cir. 2010).Dan Dalton - 11/06/2007
Jennifer Bronson - 12/13/2013