Thursday, April 01, 2010

Patel: No LIFE Act Confidentiality For Work Authorization Applications

Patel v. Holder
No. 09-1066
March 30, 2010

Judges Fuentes, Roth, and Van Antwerpen. Per Curiam.

Michael A. Younge of Anaheim Hills, CA for Ms. Patel. Regina Byrd, Ernesto H. Molina, and M. Lee Quinn for OIL of the Justice Department.

Upholding the BIA and Immigration Judge Margaret Reichenberg.

The Third Circuit held that the confidentiality provisions of the LIFE Act (the Legal Immigration Family Equity Act) under INA 245A(c)(5) cover adjustment of status applications under the LIFE Act, but not employment authorization applications.

The Third Circuit focused on how the confidentiality provision covered applications filed under INA 245A or LIFE Act section 1104(b) for adjustment of status. Using that narrow focus, the Third Circuit held that the protections did not cover other applications, such as for employment authorization under the Family Unity Provisions.

What is interesting in the immigration world is that many people view adjustment of status applications as going hand-in-hand with work authorization applications. In certain situations, lawyers even refer to them as part of the same one-step packet. Perhaps the key to the case would not be solely the literal words in the statute, but some of the legislative history to show whether Congress had in mind the entire packet (which includes work authorization applications) or just the specific, literal wording of the statute.


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