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CA2 on CSPA, "Age" - Cuthill v. Blinken

March 10, 2021 (1 min read)

Cuthill v. Blinken

"We hold that 8 U.S.C. § 1151(f)(2) incorporates the age-reduction formula in 8 U.S.C. § 1153(h)(1), which deducts processing time from the age of an F2A visa beneficiary. ... The question before us is whether the term “age” in § 1151(f)(2) incorporates the age-reduction formula set forth in § 1153(h)(1). Based on the text, structure, purpose, and legislative history of the CSPA, we hold that it does. And because Veronica Cuthill’s daughter was statutorily under 21 years old when Cuthill naturalized, she qualifies for an immediate-relative visa. ... To determine whether such a petition can be converted from an F2A petition into an immediate-relative petition, should “the age of the alien on the date of the parent’s naturalization” in § 1151(f)(2) be interpreted as the statutory age or as the biological age on that date? That is the question in this appeal. ... We find that the CSPA’s text favors Cuthill’s position, although the government’s text-based arguments are well taken. Second, we turn to the CSPA’s structure. Here, we find that Cuthill’s position better comports with the structure of the CSPA and the overall family-based visa scheme, though neither party’s proposed reading of the statute is in complete harmony with the surrounding provisions. Third, we examine Congress’s purpose in enacting the CSPA, and it is there that we find our clincher: The legislative history shows a clear desire by Congress to fix the age-out problem for all minor beneficiaries, and there is nothing to suggest that Congress intended to exclude beneficiaries like Diaz. Lastly, we address whether Chevron deference applies here and conclude that it does not. ... In affirming the district court, we do not hold that Congress would have legislated a fix for Diaz’s predicament had it been aware of it. Rather, we hold — based on the text, structure, purpose, and legislative history of the CSPA — that Congress did legislate a fix via § 1153(h)(1) and § 1151(f)(2)."

[Hats off to Brad Banias!]