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Fiallo v. Bell

Supreme Court of the United States

Argued December 7, 1976 ; April 26, 1977

No. 75-6297

Opinion

 [*788]   [***53]   [**1476]  MR. JUSTICE POWELL delivered the opinion of the Court.

 This case brings before us a constitutional challenge to §§ 101(b)(1)(D) and 101(b)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (Act), 66 Stat. 182, as amended, 8 U.S.C.§§ 1101 [****4]  (b)(1)(D) and 1101(b)(2).

] The Act grants special preference immigration status to aliens who qualify as the "children" or "parents" of United States citizens or lawful permanent residents. ] Under § 101(b)(1), a "child" is defined as an unmarried person under 21 years of age who is a legitimate or legitimated  [***54]  child, a stepchild, an adopted child, or an illegitimate child seeking preference by virtue of his relationship with his natural mother. 1  [*789]  The definition does not extend to an illegitimate child seeking preference by virtue of his relationship with his natural father. Moreover, ] under § 101(b)(2), a person qualifies as a "parent" for purposes of the Act solely on the basis of the person's relationship with a "child." As a result, the natural father of an illegitimate child who is either a United States citizen or permanent resident alien is not entitled to preferential treatment [****5]  as a "parent."

 [****6]  The special preference immigration status provided for those who satisfy the statutory "parent-child" relationship depends on whether the immigrant's relative is a United States citizen or permanent resident alien. ] A United States citizen is allowed the entry of his "parent" or "child" without regard to either an applicable numerical quota or the labor certification requirement. 8 U.S.C. §§ 1151(a), (b), 1182(a)(14). On the other hand, a United States permanent resident alien is allowed the entry of the "parent" or "child" subject to numerical limitations but without regard to the labor certification  [*790]  requirement. 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(14); see 1 C. Gordon & H. Rosenfield,  [**1477]  Immigration Law and Procedure § 2.40 n. 18 (rev. ed. 1975). 2 

 [****7]   [***55]  Appellants are three sets of unwed natural fathers and their illegitimate offspring who sought, either as an alien father or an alien child, a special immigration preference by virtue of a relationship to a citizen or resident alien child or parent. In each instance the applicant was informed that he was ineligible for an immigrant visa unless he qualified for admission under the general numerical limitations and, in the case of the alien parents, received the requisite labor certification. 3 

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430 U.S. 787 *; 97 S. Ct. 1473 **; 52 L. Ed. 2d 50 ***; 1977 U.S. LEXIS 78 ****

FIALLO, A MINOR, BY RODRIGUEZ, ET AL. v. BELL, ATTORNEY GENERAL, ET AL.

Prior History:  [****1]  APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK

CORE TERMS

aliens, immigration, illegitimate child, legitimated, cases, us citizen, preferential, visa, permanent resident, natural father, classifications, paternity, rights, Unmarried, accorded, certification requirements, marriage, immigration law, First Amendment, illegitimate, invidious, stepchild, fathers, wedlock, spouse, judicial review, limitations, qualify, natural mother, determinations

Immigration Law, Admission of Immigrants & Nonimmigrants, Numerical Limitations on Immigration, Preferences & Priorities, General Overview, Family Law, Parental Duties & Rights, Nonmarital Children, Types of Immigrants, Family Sponsored Immigrants, Judicial Proceedings, Judicial Review, Scope of Review