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Int'l Union of Bricklayers & Allied Craftsmen v. Meese - 616 F. Supp. 1387 (N.D. Cal. 1985)


Section 101(a)(15)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C.S. § 1101(a)(15)(B), defines a temporary visitor for business as an alien (other than one coming for the purpose of study or of performing skilled or unskilled labor or as a representative of foreign press, radio, film, or other foreign information media coming to engage in such vocation) having a residence in a foreign country which he has no intention of abandoning and who is visiting the United States temporarily for business. An alien qualifying for this nonimmigrant status is entitled to receive a "B-1" visa. 8 U.S.C.S. § 1201(a)(2).


Plaintiffs International Union of Bricklayers & Allied Craftsmen and affiliated unions (collectively, "Unions"), which represented approximately 100,000 masonry craftsmen working in the construction industry in the United States, brought suit in federal district court on behalf of themselves and their members to challenge the practice of defendants Edwin Meese III, the Attorney General of the United States, and other federal officials (collectively, "Government"), whereby visas were issued to foreign laborers under the authority of Immigration and Naturalization Service ("INS") Operations Instruction 214.2(b)(5), an INS internal agency guideline. Defendants issued visas to foreign laborers who came to the United States temporarily to work on a project. The Unions sought declaratory and injunctive relief, arguing that the practice violated the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C.S. §§ 1101-1525. The parties filed cross motions for summary judgment.


Did the Government violate the Immigration and Nationality Act when it issued visas to foreign laborers in a project?




The court granted the Unions' motion for summary judgment. The court first rejected defendants' claim to the contrary and ruled that the Unions had standing to bring the lawsuit under both the constitutional and prudential components of standing analysis. The court then ruled, inter alia, that Instruction 214.2(b)(5) lacked the safeguards contained in § 101(a)(15)(H)(ii) of the INA. The central purpose of the INA was the protection of American labor, the court observed, and the Instruction failed to fulfill that purpose. The court further ruled that, based upon the considerations embodied in the Chevron test, the decision was to be applied non-retroactively.

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