On April 14, 2000, three Mexican nationals who had applied for naturalization filed a class-action lawsuit against the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, alleging that the INS improperly used and relied upon confidential ...
read more >
On April 14, 2000, three Mexican nationals who had applied for naturalization filed a class-action lawsuit against the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, alleging that the INS improperly used and relied upon confidential information taken from their prior applications made in the Special Agricultural Worker (SAW) program, 8 U.S.C. §§ 1160 et seq.
Under the SAW program, seasonal agricultural workers could apply for "temporary resident" immigration status during a specified eighteen-month period if they could prove both that they had resided in the U.S. and had performed "seasonal agricultural services" in the U.S. for at least 90 days during the period from May 1, 1985 to May 1, 1986. Thereafter, the temporary resident workers would automatically receive permanent resident status after a period of one or two years. The SAW program established that any information provided in the SAW application would be treated as confidential and could not be used by the INS in other proceedings.
Plaintiffs claimed that the government violated the confidentiality provision of the SAW program when Plaintiffs applied for naturalization years after applying for the SAW program. Each claimed that during their naturalization application process, the INS quizzed them extensively about their SAW status and reviewed confidential information from their SAW applications.
After filing the initial action, Plaintiffs moved for class certification and requested a preliminary injunction. The government moved to dismiss the case.
On August 31, 2000, the District Court (Judge Samuel Fred Biery, Jr.) granted the government's motion to dismiss and denied Plaintiffs' request for class certification and preliminary injunction. The Court determined that the plaintiffs' claims were unripe because they had not exhausted the statutory appeal procedures before filing suit. Plaintiffs appealed. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. Aparicio v. Blakeway, 302 F.3d 438 (5th Cir. 2002).Stephen Imm - 08/14/2007