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Law School Case Brief

Walters v. Reno - 145 F.3d 1032 (9th Cir. 1998)


In evaluating a particular procedure to determine if it is sufficient to satisfy due process depending upon the circumstances, the courts must consider the interest at stake for the individual, the risk of an erroneous deprivation of the interest through the procedures used, as well as the probable value of additional or different procedural safeguards, and the interest of the government in using the current procedures rather than additional or different procedures.


Plaintiff aliens were noncitizens who were determined by defendant, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), to have violated document fraud provisions and who were in various stages of deportation proceedings. Plaintiffs filed an action against defendants, the Attorney General of the United States, the INS, and the Commissioner of the INS, requesting class action certification and permanent injunctive relief upon a determination that the INS' procedures violated plaintiffs' due process rights. The district court found that the procedures were unconstitutional and granted the requested relief. Defendants appealed, claiming errors in the class certification, the permanent injunction, and the determination of unconstitutionality.


Did the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service violate aliens' due process rights?




The court affirmed the determinations that document fraud procedures used by defendant INS violated the requirements of due process and that class status and permanent injunctive relief were appropriate. The INS' procedures were so confusing and misleading that they denied plaintiff aliens due process rights.  The court affirmed the permanent injunction against the use of the procedures, but it reversed the requirement that the INS provide bilingual forms.

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