INS v. Legalization Assistance Project of Los Angeles County Federation of Labor
Annotate this Case
510 U.S. 1301 (1993)
OCTOBER TERM, 1993
IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE ET AL. v. LEGALIZATION ASSISTANCE PROJECTOFTHELOSANGELESCOUNTY FEDERATION OF LABOR ET AL.
ON APPLICATION FOR STAY
No. A-426. Decided November 26,1993
The application for a stay of a District Court order-which requires applicant Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to, among other things, identify and adjudicate legalization applications filed by certain categories of applicants, not arrest or deport certain immigrant classes, and temporarily grant certain immigrant classes stays of deportation and employment authorization-is granted. If presented with the question, this Court would grant certiorari and conclude that respondents, organizations providing legal help to immigrants, have no standing to seek the order granted by the District Court because they are outside the zone of interests that the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) seeks to protect. See Lujan v. National Wildlife Federation, 497 U. S. 871, 883. IRCA was clearly meant to protect the interests of undocumented aliens, not organizations such as respondents. Although respondents were entities designated to assist legalization efforts during IRCA's amnesty period, the fact that an INS regulation may have affected the way they allocated their resources does not give them standing. The balance of equities also tips in the INS' favor. The order would impose a considerable administrative burden on the INS and would delay the deportation of at least those aliens who are deportable and who could not seek relief on their own behalf under Reno v. Catholic Social Services, 509 U. S. 43. If respondents lack standing, the order would also be an improper intrusion by a federal court into the workings of a coordinate branch of Government. On the other hand, those aliens whose deportation claims are ripe may still sue in their own right, as may organizations whose members' claims are ripe, assuming those organizations meet organizational standing criteria.
1302 INS v. LEGALIZATION ASSISTANCE PROJECT OF LOS ANGELES COUNTY FEDERATION OF LABOR
Opinion in Chambers
JUSTICE O'CONNOR, Circuit Justice.
The Solicitor General, on behalf of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), requests that I stay an order of the District Court for the Western District of Washington pending appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The Court of Appeals has rejected the INS' application for such a stay. Though "stay application[s] to a Circuit Justice on a matter before a court of appeals [are] rarely granted," Heckler v. Lopez, 463 U. S. 1328, 1330 (1983) (REHNQUIST, J., in chambers) (internal quotation marks omitted), I believe this is an exceptional case in which such a stay is proper.
In 1986, Congress enacted the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), 100 Stat. 3359, which provided a limited amnesty for immigrants who had come to or stayed in the country illegally. See 8 U. S. C. § 1255a. Not all such immigrants were, however, eligible. Among other restrictions, the amnesty was available only to those who had "resided continuously in the United States in an unlawful status since [January 1, 1982]," § 1255a(a)(2)(A); also, those who came to the country legally but stayed illegally could only get amnesty if their "period of authorized stay ... expired before [January 1, 1982,]" or their "unlawful status was known to the Government as of [January 1, 1982]," § 1255a(a)(2)(B). Respondents, organizations that provide legal help to immigrants, believe the INS interpreted these provisions too narrowly, in violation of the statute and the United States Constitution, and in 1988 brought their challenge to court.
In March 1989, the District Court ruled in respondents' favor, and in September 1992, the Ninth Circuit affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded to the District Court for further proceedings. On June 1, 1993, the District Court issued an order requiring the INS to, among other things, identify and adjudicate legalization applications filed by
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