Articles Posted in U.S. D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals

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In August 2011, the Department updated the special procedures that establish the minimum wages and working conditions employers must offer U.S. sheepherders, goatherders, and open-range (cattle) herders before hiring foreign herders. Plaintiffs, U.S. workers experienced in herding claimed that the Department administers the temporary worker visa program in a way that gives herding operations access to inexpensive foreign labor without protecting U.S. workers. The court concluded that the district court erred in holding that plaintiffs lacked both Article III and prudential standing to bring this action where plaintiffs were injured by the Department's promulgation of the Training and Employment Guidance Letters (TEGLs) and fell within the zone of interests protected by the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, 8 U.S.C. 1188(a)(1). On the merits, the court concluded that plaintiffs were entitled to entry of summary judgment in their favor where the Department violated the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 553, by promulgating TEGLs without providing public notice and an opportunity for comment. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded. View "Mendoza, et al. v. Harris, et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff challenged the district court's holding affirming the USCIS's denial of several of plaintiff's petitions for Q-1 visas for foreign applicants to its cultural exchange program. USCIS denied the petitions because it interpreted its regulation to require sponsors of a cultural exchange program to pay wages to the participating aliens and plaintiff admittedly did not pay its participants any wages. Given 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(Q)'s specific references to "employed," "wages," and "workers," the court agreed with USCIS that the statute was best read to require that the foreign citizens receive wages and that those wages be equivalent to the wages of domestic workers. Given 8 C.F.R. 214.2(q)(4)(i)(D)'s references to "employer," "wages," "workers," and "remunerate," the court agreed with USCIS that the regulation was best read to require that foreign citizens receive wages and that those wages be comparable to those of local workers. Finally, when USCIS denied plaintiff's petitions in 2010, the agency did not trigger the notice-and-comment procedures in the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 603(a), 604, 605(b), or the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 533(b)-(c), because the denials were not rules under either act; rather, they were informal adjudications. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Int'l Internship Program v. Napolitano, et al." on Justia Law

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Appellant, a Jewish American by birth who has lived in Israel as an Israeli national for over a decade, sought a Certificate of Loss of Nationality (CLN) from the Department of State, claiming that he was entitled to the CLN under two provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, 8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq. The court affirmed the District Court's judgment only insofar as it upheld that Department's decision that appellant was not eligible for CLN under Section 2 of the INA. The court reversed and remanded, however, the district court's judgment dismissing appellant's challenge to the Department decision denying his request for a CLN under Section 1. The agency's statutory interpretation of Section 1, as rendered in the Betancourt Letter, was not entitled to Chevron deference. And, because the Department failed to provide any coherent explanation for its decision regarding the applicability of Section 1, the agency's action was arbitrary and capricious for want of reasoned decisionmaking. View "Fox v. Clinton, et al." on Justia Law

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Appellant, a citizen of El Salvador, pleaded guilty to violating 8 U.S.C. 1326(a), and 1326(b)(2), which together prohibited the illegal reentry of an alien who had been deported following an aggravated felony conviction. The district court twice sentenced appellant. The court reversed both times, remanding each time for resentencing - first, because the district court did not consider appellant's Guidelines range under United States v. Booker, and second, because the district court incorrectly calculated appellant's Guidelines range when it did consider it. Appellant appealed his third sentence which resulted in an 84 month prison sentence because the court varied upward from appellant's calculated Guidelines range on the basis of the factors articulated in section 3553(a). The court held that the district court correctly calculated the Guidelines range and its subsequent findings of fact about appellant's Virginia abduction offense were not clearly erroneous. The court also held that the district court's judgment presented a "reasoned and reasonable decision that the section 3553(a) factors, on the whole justified the sentence." Accordingly, the court affirmed the sentence because the district court adequately explained its sentencing decision.

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Appellant brought a suit under the Administrative Procedure Act ("APA"), 5 U.S.C. 500, seeking an injunction requiring the United States State Department ("State Department") to disclose the Hearing Officer's Findings of Fact and Recommendation when the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Passport Services granted her children limited validity passports after a hearing. After the district court granted the State Department's motion to dismiss appellant's suit, she timely appealed the decision and then filed a second, separate complaint against the State Department alleging that the State Department's decision on the merits was arbitrary and capricious in violation of the APA. The State Department filed a second motion to dismiss which was pending. The court vacated the district court's grant of the State Department's motion to dismiss and instructed the district court to reevaluate appellant's claims upon consolidation of both her cases against the State Department.