Saxbe v. Bustos,
419 U.S. 65 (1974)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Saxbe v. Bustos, 419 U.S. 65 (1974)

Saxbe v. Bustos

No. 73-300

Argued October 17, 1974

Decided November 25, 1974*

419 U.S. 65


Some aliens who live in Mexico and Canada commute to work in the United States. The Immigration and Naturalization Service has approved this practice with respect to both daily and seasonal commuters, and has classified such aliens as immigrants "lawfully admitted for permanent residence" who are "returning from a temporary visit abroad," a category of "special immigrant" defined by the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a) (27)(b). Those with that classification have freedom from usual documentation and numerical requirements and from the labor certification requirements of 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(14). Certain farmworkers and a collective bargaining agent for farmworkers brought this suit for declaratory and injunctive relief against the practice of thus classifying such alien commuters. The District Court dismissed the action. The Court of Appeals upheld the classification as to daily commuters but rejected it as to seasonal commuters.

Held: Alien commuters are immigrants who are "lawfully admitted for permanent residence," and are "returning from a temporary visit abroad" when they enter the United States, and this "special immigrant" classification is applicable to both daily and seasonal commuters. This has long been the administrative construction of the statute in the context of alien commuters, a factor which must be accorded great weight when, as here, Congress has considered the subject and has not seen fit to alter the administrative practice. Pp. 419 U. S. 69-80.

156 U.S.App.D.C. 304, 481 F.2d 479, affirmed in part and reversed in part.

DOUGLAS, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J., and STEWART, POWELL, and REHNQUIST, JJ., joined. WHITE, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which BRENNAN, MARSHALL, and BLACKMUN, JJ., joined, post, p. 419 U. S. 80.

Page 419 U. S. 66

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