United States ex rel. Parco v. Morris, Civ. A. No. 73-2496.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
Writing for the CourtEDWARD R. BECKER
Citation426 F. Supp. 976
PartiesUNITED STATES of America ex rel. Jose PARCO and Luzviminda Parco, his wife v. Raymond A. MORRIS, District Director, Immigration and Naturalization Service.
Docket NumberCiv. A. No. 73-2496.
Decision Date28 January 1977

426 F. Supp. 976

UNITED STATES of America ex rel. Jose PARCO and Luzviminda Parco, his wife
v.
Raymond A. MORRIS, District Director, Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Civ. A. No. 73-2496.

United States District Court, E. D. Pennsylvania.

January 28, 1977.


426 F. Supp. 977
COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED
426 F. Supp. 978
James J. Orlow, Philadelphia, Pa., for plaintiff

Walter S. Batty, Jr., Asst. U.S. Atty., Philadelphia, Pa., for defendant.

OPINION AND ORDER

EDWARD R. BECKER, District Judge.

I. Preliminary Statement

Jose and Luzviminda Parco, husband and wife, are citizens of the Philippines who have resided as aliens in the United States since 1970. After a joint deportation hearing, an immigration judge found that each was deportable under 8 U.S.C. § 1251(a)(2) as one who has overstayed a non-immigrant visa, but granted each of the Parcos the privilege of voluntary departure in lieu of deportation.1 The deadline for voluntary departure was set for June 30, 1973, but on June 25, the Parcos applied to the district director of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (predecessor of the respondent) for an indefinite extension of this date,2 and they did not depart. On September 21, 1973, their extension applications were denied and final orders of deportation issued. On October 18, 1973, the district director of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) denied applications for stay of deportation,3 whereupon the Parcos commenced this action for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1105a(a)(9) and 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(1) and (3),4 attacking the denial of their applications for extended voluntary departure.

The Parcos assert (and the government concedes) that their applications for extended voluntary departure would have been granted when filed had not the INS recently changed the bases on which district directors were authorized to grant such applications. They contend (and this the government sharply disputes) that the district director's denial of their extended voluntary departure application was unlawful, because the policy change on which the denial depended was implemented without the advance, public notice required by law, and they therefore missed by some thirty days their opportunity to receive the benefit of the prior, favorable policy. Second, they argue that an agency policy of such long-standing as the one at issue may not, as a matter of administrative law, be changed without adequate reasons. They claim that the reversal of agency policy which left them ineligible for extended voluntary

426 F. Supp. 979
departure was not so supported. Finally, the Parcos contend that the policy change resulted from improper Congressional pressure on the INS, in violation of principles of administrative law and the doctrine of Constitutional separation of powers. The government replies that the policy change in issue here was legally exempt from the requirement of prepublication; that the agency's reasons for the change of position were adequate; and that the alleged Congressional prompting does not invalidate the new rule

This case does not involve a garden variety application for stay of deportation or application for extended voluntary departure issue. The legal posture of this case is radically affected by the government's factual concession that:

The request for extended voluntary departure of Mrs. Parco was denied solely because of the general change in the program of the Immigration and Naturalization Service of July 1972 not to grant extended voluntary departure for beneficiaries of approved Third Preference Petitions filed after July 31, 1972.5

Pretrial Order, Stipulation 15 (Dock No. 22, filed Feb. 13, 1976); Stipulation of Fact, ¶ 4 (Dock No. 23, filed Feb. 13, 1976). Because it is agreed that the respondent did not exercise independent discretion on the facts of this case, but rather purported to follow a legal rule, our review concerns the validity of the rule and is plenary, rather than strictly limited as it would otherwise be. Hou Ching Chow v. Attorney General, 362 F.Supp. 1288, 1290 (D.D.C.1973); see Wong Wing Hang v. INS, 360 F.2d 715, 718 (2d Cir. 1966). Compare 5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(B), (C), (D) (review of legal questions), with id. § 706(2)(A); Spata v. INS, 442 F.2d 1013 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 404 U.S. 857, 92 S.Ct. 107, 30 L.Ed.2d 99 (1971); Discaya v. INS, 339 F.Supp. 1034 (N.D.Ill.1972) (INS discretion to deny extended voluntary departure to beneficiaries of approved preference petitions will not be overturned absent clear abuse proved on the facts, even though general policy is to grant it.). We therefore treat this case as presenting almost pure questions of law. On that level, we reject the Parcos' Congressional interference argument and find their lack-of-rational-basis claim unpersuasive in this case. The Parcos' first claim, however, respecting the legal inadequacy of notice of the impending change of rule is, we believe, meritorious. Accordingly, we will grant the writ of habeas corpus and order appropriate relief.

II. The Legal and Factual Background

A. Third Preference Aliens and Extended Voluntary Departure

To understand the Parcos claims in any detail, they must be put in a setting of immigration law, illuminated by an explication of certain peculiar (background) facts of this case. In any given year, a quota of 170,000 natives of the Eastern Hemisphere, including Filipinos, may receive visas to enter the United States as immigrants for permanent residence. 8 U.S.C. § 1151(a). Of these, up to 17,000 of the visas are reserved for holders of approved Third Preference petitions: alien professionals and those with exceptional ability in the sciences or arts. These professionals, scientists and artists are known as "PSA" aliens. 8 U.S.C. § 1153(a)(3).6 Of the 170,000, no

426 F. Supp. 980
more than 20,000 visas in any given year may go to Filipinos. Id. § 1152(a). In recent years, demand for visas by Filipinos has vastly exceeded the supply. Thus, the Visa Office in the Department of State, which maintains records and publishes a bulletin on visa availability, shows approximately a six year waiting period before a visa can be issued to a Filipino who files a Third Preference petition.6a

Under an INS policy in effect at least from July, 1956, until July 31, 1972, a non-immigrant, physically present in the United States, who was subject to deportation but who filed a satisfactory Third Preference visa petition, was eligible for "extended voluntary departure." INS Operating Instruction (OI) 242.10(a)(6)(i).7 This meant, in effect, that no firm date to leave the United States was set, and the alien could await the availability of a visa while remaining in this country. When the visa became available, the alien could then apply for an adjustment of status to that of permanent resident alien. 8 U.S.C. § 1255. Deportation, or even departure from the United States, was thus entirely avoided.

This INS policy was terminated in July, 1972. On July 17, the Associate Commissioner of INS for Operations, James F. Greene, circulated a memorandum to all district directors announcing the rescission of OI 242.10(a)(6) (see note 7 supra) effective July 31, 1972.8 The effect of the memorandum

426 F. Supp. 981
was to remove the discretion of district directors to extend indefinitely the voluntary departure of third preference petitioners on that basis; the privilege was only to be granted in "compelling" cases. See OI 242.10(a)(8), supra note 7. An exception was provided, however, for those whose preference petitions were filed prior to July 31, 1972

Mrs. Parco filed her petition for Third Preference status on September 8, 1972, and it was ultimately approved.9 Because of the rescission of OI 242.10(a)(6)(i), however, this petition came too late by just over one month to achieve extended voluntary departure. As noted above, it is undisputed here that the Parcos could have remained in the country indefinitely awaiting the availability of visas if the petition had been filed before July 31. Instead, they faced the prospect of returning to the Philippines for approximately six years, until Mrs. Parco's immigrant visa becomes available.

B. The Parcos

Luzviminda Parco entered the United States on September 10, 1970, as a student. Her status was subsequently changed to that of an exchange visitor. Her husband Jose Parco accompanied her. She completed her education at the University of Pennsylvania in May, 1972, receiving a Masters Degree in Social Work (M.S.W.). Mrs. Parco has been employed for some time as a Mental Retardation Coordinator at the Pottstown (Pa.) Mental Health Mental Retardation Center. Her duties include coordination of all services for the mentally retarded, arrangements for diagnostic studies, counseling, training, and community relations.

Jose Parco is the owner of a television and radio repair service business in partnership with a United States citizen whom he trained. They employ another American citizen.

III. Discussion

A. Was the Rescission of the INS Extended Voluntary Departure Operating Instruction Invalidated by Improper Congressional Influence in Violation of the Doctrine of Separation of Powers?

The Parcos contend that the administrative decision to rescind OI 242.10(a)(6) is invalid because it was motivated by the direct pressure of Congressman Peter Rodino, now chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and then chairman of the subcommittee responsible for oversight of the administration of the immigration laws. There is no doubt that the recommendation of Congressman Rodino was the direct impetus for the change in policy, for the memorandum announcing the change says so in its first paragraph. See note 8 supra. Moreover, in the hearing before us, Leon Rosen, Esquire, then president of the Association of Immigration and Nationality Lawyers, testified that then Commissioner Raymond Farrell of INS told him at the time that...

To continue reading

Request your trial
32 practice notes
  • Jean v. Nelson, No. 82-5772
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • 12 Abril 1983
    ...statement of policy must leave administrator free "to exercise his informed discretion in situations that arise"); Parco v. Morris, 426 F.Supp. 976, 985 (E.D.Pa.1977) (not a general statement of policy when rule purports to grant discretion but has result of all cases being resolved in one ......
  • Texas v. United States, No. 15–40238.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • 9 Noviembre 2015
    ...the fact that the failure to maintain status is directly due to Hurricane Katrina"); see also United States ex rel. Parco v. Morris, 426 F.Supp. 976, 980 (E.D.Pa.1977) (discussing an INS policy that allowed aliens to "await the availability of a [Third Preference] visa while remaining in th......
  • U.S. v. Doherty, No. 499
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
    • 13 Marzo 1986
    ...and 8 U.S.C. Sec. 1105a(a), which authorizes judicial review of all final orders of deportation and exclusion. In Parco v. Morris, 426 F.Supp. 976 (E.D.Pa.1977) (reviewing court in habeas action authorizes aliens to remain in the United States as if under an administrative order extending v......
  • Mendonca v. I.N.S., No. Civ.A. 98-11759-PBS.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • 13 Enero 1999
    ...also [to] that restriction of movement resulting from any final order of deportation." (citing United States ex rel. Parco v. Morris, 426 F.Supp. 976, 978 n. 4 Although the INS does not contest the standing of Mr. Mendonca's wife to press this habeas corpus petition, this Court addresses th......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
32 cases
  • Jean v. Nelson, No. 82-5772
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • 12 Abril 1983
    ...statement of policy must leave administrator free "to exercise his informed discretion in situations that arise"); Parco v. Morris, 426 F.Supp. 976, 985 (E.D.Pa.1977) (not a general statement of policy when rule purports to grant discretion but has result of all cases being resolved in one ......
  • Texas v. United States, No. 15–40238.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • 9 Noviembre 2015
    ...the fact that the failure to maintain status is directly due to Hurricane Katrina"); see also United States ex rel. Parco v. Morris, 426 F.Supp. 976, 980 (E.D.Pa.1977) (discussing an INS policy that allowed aliens to "await the availability of a [Third Preference] visa while remaining in th......
  • U.S. v. Doherty, No. 499
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
    • 13 Marzo 1986
    ...and 8 U.S.C. Sec. 1105a(a), which authorizes judicial review of all final orders of deportation and exclusion. In Parco v. Morris, 426 F.Supp. 976 (E.D.Pa.1977) (reviewing court in habeas action authorizes aliens to remain in the United States as if under an administrative order extending v......
  • Mendonca v. I.N.S., No. Civ.A. 98-11759-PBS.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • 13 Enero 1999
    ...also [to] that restriction of movement resulting from any final order of deportation." (citing United States ex rel. Parco v. Morris, 426 F.Supp. 976, 978 n. 4 Although the INS does not contest the standing of Mr. Mendonca's wife to press this habeas corpus petition, this Court addresses th......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT