Update to CSS and LULAC Class Members, Attorneys and Advocates
December 4, 2001
A hearing is scheduled for December 10 before the District Court in Sacramento dealing with our motion to amend the complaint to hopefully get a remedy for class members who never applied for work permits. As you may know, the Sacramento court recently reinstated the CSS 1 case which was dismissed in 1999 after enactment of section 377.
We have had several discussions recently with the Government about the future of CSS, LULAC/Newman and the LIFE Act. During these discussions, we have been told that INS is considering issuing final regulations implementing the LIFE Act in the next few months, and extending the application period for another year. Also, we believe that the final regulations will resolve several problems class members have faced under the interim regulations which are now in operation. We believe applications filed after the final regulations are issued may be treated more favorably than applications being filed now under the interim regulations.
We are exploring a global settlement with the Government. We are proposing that the CSS, Newman/LULAC and LIFE Act remedies be rolled into one remedy with a period of publicity, a new 12-month application period, final standards and procedures that will be favorable to all class members, and a mechanism for class members to have the court monitor INS's compliance.
Given these developments, here is what we recommend for class members and their advocates/lawyers:
1. If a class member has a work permit and has not yet filed under the LIFE Act, it might be beneficial to wait to file until we have a settlement or at least until the final regulations are issued. We believe the INS will extend work permits already issued under CSS or LULAC/Newman.
2. If a class member has already applied under the LIFE Act, they should have an attorney review their applications (if they can afford an attorney or have access to a local free legal services program) to make sure that the application is as strong as possible, especially proving residence in the United States between January 1, 1982 and May 4, 1988. This is particularly true if the applicant does not have hard evidence of residence for 1982 (we consider hard evidence to be documents like school records, a visa, checking account, medical records, driver's license, etc.). Applications without such hard evidence of residence during 1982 and the early years (1982-1985) must be supported by very detailed affidavits from family members and friends showing that the applicant resided here from January 1982 to May 1988. We are recommending applicants try to submit about ten such affidavits. We can provide applicants with a sample affidavit. This can be mailed to people by contacting Silvia at 213/388-8693 ext. 107, or via email contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Class members who used to have work permits but were unable to get their work permits back in 2001, should contact me by email or send a letter and a copy of their file to me at the Center for Human Rights, 256 S. Occidental Blvd., Los Angeles, Ca. 90057. We can try to help such class members to get their work permits back. If the work permit cannot be obtained, and is needed, the class member should probably then apply under the LIFE Act before the final regulations are issued or a global settlement reached.
4. Class members who were denied work permits (have never had a work permit), and who need a work permit, should probably prepare and file their LIFE Act applications now. However, if possible, such class members should have a lawyer help them to prepare their applications. Such class members who do not have hard evidence of residence in 1982 and the early years of required residence (1982-85), must obtain detailed affidavits from family members and friends confirming that they resided in the United States from 1982 to 1988. See paragraph 2 above.
5. Class members who have applied under the LIFE Act and received denials or "Notice of Intent to Deny" should e-mail me at email@example.com. They should also make a complete copy of their file, including (1) their original application for a work permit, (2) copies of their work permit (if they were given a work permit) and interview notices, and (3) their LIFE Act applications, and mail these documents to me at the Center (address above). They can also call me at 213/388-8693 ext. 104 and if I am not available leave a message (clearly spell your name and slowly state your telephone number, and explain that you have received a denial or a "Notice of Intent to Deny").
6. Class members who filed Legalization Questionnaire forms and have not yet received a decision should expect decisions in the next few months. Vermont has processed about 7,000 cases and has about 6,500 remaining cases being worked on. The approval rate is now about 30%. If these class members do not have work permits and need to work, see paragraphs 3 and 4 above.
7. Class members whose Legalization Questionnaire forms were approved and who filed legalization applications with the INS Service Processing Center in Texas should be patient (INS says its working out computer problems before these cases can be processed). If these class members do not have work permits and need to work, see paragraphs 3 and 4 above.
People who have access to the internet can also check our web page at http://www.centerforhumanrights.org.
About The Author
Peter A. Schey