On October 3, 1989, a class of lawful permanent resident aliens (LPRs) filed a lawsuit under 8 U.S.C. §1304 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, challenging the INS procedure for replacing lost or stolen permanent resident alien cards, Form I-151 or I-551, ("green cards"). Plaintiffs alleged violations of their constitutional rights and federal immigration law and sought declaratory and injunctive relief.
Under federal immigration law, a LPR was required to carry a "green card" at all times. The green card served as proof of both employment authorization and eligibility for government benefits. In the event of a lost green card, the LPR was required to file an I-90 application form. Per INS procedure, it then issued a receipt and scheduled an appointment. At the appointment, the applicant would receive temporary documentation for use until a permanent replacement green card was issued.
Plaintiffs specifically challenged the INS policy of issuing a temporary document which contained the following language:
"Warning A nonimmigrant who accepts unauthorized employment is subject to deportation. ... You are authorized to stay in the U.S. only until the date written on this form. To remain past this date, without permission from immigration authorities, is a violation of the law. Surrender this permit when you leave the U.S."
Plaintiffs maintained that the subject language improperly suggested that the bearer of the card was not a lawful permanent resident.
On September 27, 1990, the District Court (Judge Eugene H. Nickerson) certified the case as a class action and held that the INS policies regarding the replacement of green cards lost by permanent resident aliens violated federal immigration law and that the plaintiffs were entitled to temporary documents in place of their taken green cards. The District Court ordered the INS to issue temporary documentation that contained "no information that casts doubt on the bearer's status as a lawful permanent resident." Etuk v. Blackman 748 F. Supp. 990, 999 (E.D.N.Y. 1990), aff'd in part, vacated and remanded in part sub nom. Etuk v. Slattery, 936 F.2d 1433 (2d Cir.1991), on remand No. 89 CV 3265 (E.D.N.Y. December 16, 1991), rev'd after remand 973 F.2d 60 (2d Cir.1992). (holding that the temporary form I-551 was a valid temporary proof of legal permanent resident status and employment authorization).
In a separate memorandum dated November 28, 1990, the District Court ordered the INS to provide the temporary proof of status document within 21 days and a receipt on the day of application. Request for modification of that order was denied on April 30, 1992. Etuk v. Slattery, 1992 WL 106474 (E.D.N.Y. Apr 30, 1992).
On October 14, 1992, the District Court (Judge Nickerson) issued a separate order which addressed the issue of the type of "receipt" INS provided on the day LPRs filed their I-90 application form. The District Court held that the INS form, which ordered applicants to appear for replacement of their green cards, did not fit the definition of "receipt" as a "regulation authorizing employers to accept only actual document or receipt." As such, the Court ordered the INS to provide a proper "receipt" document to applicants for replacement green cards on the day their application was filed, for use during the 21 day period before INS provided the temporary substitute green card. Etuk v. Slattery 803 F.Supp. 644, 644 (E.D.N.Y. 1992).Erica Woodruff - 08/08/2007