Plaintiffs were a group of ''Immigrant Investors'' who participated in the ''EB-5'' program, which granted lawful permanent resident (''LPR'') status in the United States to those who made qualifying investments that created jobs for United States workers under the Immigrant Investor Law (''IIL''), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1153(b)(5).
On August 24, 1999, Plaintiffs filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleging that Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) improperly applied its current interpretation of EB-5 retroactively to their applications. Shortly after filing suit, plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the case and then refiled it in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (Los Angeles), where it was assigned case # 2:99-cv-10518-GHK-AJW. The refiled suit was brought by more than two hundred immigrant investors and their family members. To pare down the case, the lawsuit was later amended as a class action, with seven named investor plaintiffs acting as class representatives.
The plaintiff class alleged that they had submitted investment proposals and business plans which were preliminarily approved under the ''EB-5'' program. Class members and their families then moved to the U.S. In 1998, the Immigration and Naturalization Service changed the rules of the EB-5 program, which plaintiffs alleged were retroactively applied to them, causing their EB-5 applications to be rejected. Plaintiffs contended that by changing the EB-5 rules and retroactively applying them to the plaintiffs, the government violated the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 551 et seq. and due process and equal protection. Plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief.
On June 27, 2000, the government moved for judgment on the pleadings. The District Court (Judge George H. King) granted it in part and dismissed the claims of six of the seven named plaintiffs as unripe. As to the claims of plaintiff Chiang, who had received a decision terminating his residency in the U.S., the Court held that he failed to state a claim under the Administrative Procedures Act. The Court remanded Chiang's retroactivity claim to the INS for further consideration in light of the retroactivity analysis in Montgomery Ward v. FTC, 691 F.2d 1322 (9th Cir. 1982). Plaintiffs appealed.
On April 29, 2003, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Circuit Judge Betty B. Fletcher) affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding that the District Court erred in dismissing the claims of six plaintiffs as being not ripe. The Court also found that the INS impermissibly and retroactively applied its EB-5 rule changes to the plaintiffs. The case was remanded with instructions that the district court should determine whether class certification was appropriate. Chang v. U.S., 327 F.3d 911 (9th Cir. 2003).
On remand, plaintiffs moved several times to amend their complaint and for class certification. On August 29, 2005, the District Court granted plaintiffs leave to file a second amended complaint. The Court also indicated that it was inclined to certify the case as a class action and ordered the parties to submit a joint definition of the proposed class. The Court also ordered that the case Ahn v. U.S.A., CV-01-7382 be consolidated with the Chang case.
On July 17, 2007, the Court (Judge King) conducted a settlement conference with the parties. In the settlement conference, the parties came to preliminary agreement on the terms of the plaintiffs relief, specifically that the amount of additional money the plaintiffs would have to invest and how many jobs they would have to create in order for their I-829 applications to be approved. He ordered the parties to file a status report 130 days, updating the progress of settlement negotiations.
On February 6, 2008, the plaintiffs filed a motion requesting sanctions on the defendants, claiming that they had started implementing contacts with the class members and regional immigration centers on good faith of the defendants verbal agreements in settlement conference and that the defendants had now impermissibly changed their position in negotiations. The plaintiffs alleged that they were unable to negotiate towards a settlement with the defendants any longer.
As a result, the parties continued to file motions to amend the complaint and motions to dismiss. In March of 2012, the parties began formally informing the court of settlement negotiations, and, in August the parties submitted a joint status report, which included a settlement agreement.
In September 2012, the court conditionally certified a class for settlement. The class consisted of all aliens who invested in one of the AIS Partnerships, who had an I-526 petition approved by the Attorney General after January 1, 1995, and before August 31, 1998, and were granted conditional resident status pursuant to the INA and who timely filed an I-829 petition requesting the removal of such conditional basis, and who have received or will receive a denial of their permanent residency because they are unable to comply with the INA's investment and employment requirements.
The court then also preliminary approved the settlement agreement. Per the settlement, defendant agreed to favorably adjudicate each plaintiff's Petition to Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions ("Form I-829") subject to numerous conditions, including that the petition could be denied if it was determined that the petitioner made a willful material misrepresentation in his form or that the petitioner's investment was knowingly made solely as a means of evading the immigration laws.
On February 13, 2013, the court granted final approval of the settlement. In March, the court granted plaintiffs' unopposed motion to order adjudication of plaintiffs' I-829 petitions.
The case appears to be closed. Dan Dalton - 11/11/2007
Jennifer Bronson - 12/13/2013
Virginia Weeks - 10/29/2016