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PAPAKONSTANTINOU v. CIVILETTI

July 30, 1980

Rachelle Hana PAPAKONSTANTINOU, an infant, by her father George Papakonstantinou, and George Papakonstantinou, Plaintiffs,
v.
Benjamin J. CIVILETTI, Attorney General of the United States of America, et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: NEAHER

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiffs, an alien subject to an outstanding order of deportation and his minor citizen daughter, seek declaratory and injunctive relief against enforcement of sections 201(a) and (b), 101(a)(27)(A), and 212(a)(14) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, 8 U.S.C. §§ 1151(a), (b), 1101(a)(27) (A), and 1182(a)(14) (1976) ("Act"). They claim that § 201, insofar as it denies "immediate relative" status to the alien parent of a citizen child who is under the age of twenty-one, as applied to them produces a result not intended by Congress, and, in any event, is violative of equal protection principles and hence unconstitutional on its face and as applied to them. Plaintiffs further claim that §§ 101(a)(27)(A) and 212(a)(14) are unconstitutional on their face and as applied in that they differentiate between citizens of eastern hemisphere countries and citizens of western hemisphere countries without justification, and request that a three-judge court be convened pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 2282, 2284 (1976). The action is now before the court on defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, Rule 12(b)(6), F.R.Civ.P., and in opposition to the convening of a three-judge court. For the reasons stated hereafter, defendants' motion is granted.

 Contrary to defendants' arguments, this court has jurisdiction over the subject matter under § 279 of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1329 (1976), which states, in pertinent part, that "(t)he district courts of the United States shall have jurisdiction of all causes, civil and criminal, arising under any of the provisions of this subchapter." Sections 201 and 212 of the Act, the sections over which this dispute arises, are contained within subchapter II, to which § 279 is explicitly applicable.

 The courts of appeals, since 1961, undeniably have had exclusive jurisdiction to review "final orders of deportation," § 106, Act of 1952, 8 U.S.C. § 1105a, as amended by § 5(a), Act of Sept. 26, 1961, Pub.L. No. 87-301, 75 Stat. 651, but it is now well settled that § 106(a) does not confer jurisdiction on the courts of appeals to review determinations of immigration authorities not made in the course of § 242(b) deportation proceedings. Cheng Fan Kwok v. INS, 392 U.S. 206, 216, 88 S. Ct. 1970, 1976, 20 L. Ed. 2d 1037 (1968). The district courts, rather, have the authority to review determinations ancillary to deportation orders, even if such determinations will effectively control whether or not a given alien will be deported, so long as the administrative decision sought to be reviewed was not entered pursuant to a § 242(b) proceeding. Cheng Fan Kwok v. INS, supra; Butterfield v. INS, 133 U.S. App. D.C. 135, 409 F.2d 170, 173 (D.C.Cir. 1969). See Acosta v. Gaffney, 558 F.2d 1153, 1156-57 (3d Cir. 1977); Waziri v. INS, 392 F.2d 55, 56-57 (9th Cir. 1968); Nasan v. INS, 449 F. Supp. 244, 247 (N.D.Ill.1978); United States ex rel. Parco v. Morris, 426 F. Supp. 976, 978 n.4 (E.D.Pa.1977); Manarolakis v. Coomey, 416 F. Supp. 532, 534 n.1 (D.Mass.1976); Shodeke v. Attorney General of the United States, 391 F. Supp. 219, 222 (D.D.C.1975). But see Roumeliotis v. INS, 304 F.2d 453, 455 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 371 U.S. 921, 83 S. Ct. 288, 9 L. Ed. 2d 230 (1962). Accordingly, we turn to the merits of the action.

 The facts are not in dispute. On October 16, 1971, plaintiff George Papakonstantinou, a Greek citizen, entered the United States at the port of New York as a crewman on a Greek shipping vessel. He deserted ship, held several temporary jobs, and on August 9, 1972, married Dorothy Nash, an American citizen. One week after the wedding, Nash filed an INS I-130 petition on behalf of her husband to have him classified as an "immediate relative," which, if approved, would exempt him from the quota restrictions of § 201 of the Act. The petition was approved and plaintiff was given until January 22, 1974, to leave the country to obtain his visa. He never obtained such a visa. On March 3, 1973, plaintiff Rachelle Papakonstantinou was born. She has lived with her mother since her birth, and in July 1976 was placed in her mother's legal custody pursuant to a divorce decree entered in New York Supreme Court, Kings County (Plaintiffs' Exhibit D), under which her father exercises weekly visitation rights.

 On March 7, 1976, the Immigration and Naturalization Service ("INS") ordered plaintiff to show cause why he should not be deported. At a hearing before an immigration judge, in lieu of contesting his deportability, plaintiff on advice of counsel was granted permission to depart voluntarily from the United States on or before July 30, 1976, or be deported. On July 23, 1976, plaintiff commenced this lawsuit and moved by order to show cause for a temporary restraining order to stay the order requiring him to depart. Judge Costantino of this court restrained enforcement of the departure order contingent upon plaintiffs petitioning INS on or before August 3, 1976, to classify George Papakonstantinou as an "immediate relative" of his infant daughter. A petition, filed with INS on August 2, 1976, was denied by the New York District Director on August 25, 1976.

 In the interim, plaintiffs moved by order to show cause for a preliminary injunction based on their "first claim for relief" (Verified Complaint PP 47-51) and for appointment of a guardian ad litem for plaintiff Rachelle Papakonstantinou. On September 7, 1976, Judge Costantino extended the stay of enforcement of the departure order pending administrative appeal of the District Director's decision, and reserved decision on the motion for appointment of a guardian ad litem. On March 9, 1977, the Board of Immigration Appeals dismissed plaintiffs' appeal from the District Director's determination that a citizen child under age twenty-one could not confer "immediate relative" status on her alien parent. On April 15, 1977, plaintiffs petitioned for review of the Board's dismissal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

 On April 27, 1977, staff counsel for the Court of Appeals held a conference at which INS was represented by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Relying on Cheng Fan Kwok v. INS, supra, the parties concluded that jurisdiction to review the INS denial of plaintiffs' petition lay in the district court rather than in the Court of Appeals. A stipulation withdrawing the petition for review was executed.

 On May 12, 1977, Judge Costantino recused himself and the case was reassigned. The court thereafter informed the parties that decision on plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction would be withheld pending congressional action on the Carter Administration's "amnesty bill," which would have granted temporary residence status for five years to persons in the plaintiff father's situation. When, following the passage of a lengthy period, it became evident that no action would be taken on the "amnesty bill," defendants moved to dismiss the complaint. At a pretrial conference on November 9, 1979, plaintiffs renewed their request for a preliminary injunction and for appointment of a guardian ad litem, and also requested leave to amend the complaint to state an additional claim for relief. The court directed that all matters be held in abeyance until resolution of the instant motion. *fn1"

 Plaintiffs' statutory argument, made in their "first claim for relief," is that Congress did not intend to deny "immediate relative" status to the alien parent of a citizen child under age twenty-one, where, as here, denying such status effectively results in the separation of parent and child. Subsections (a) and (b) of § 201 of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1151(a), (b) (1976), defining "immediate relative" for purposes of the quota exceptions, provide as follows:

 
"(a) Exclusive of special immigrants defined in section 1101(a)(27) of this title, and of the immediate relatives of United States citizens specified in subsection (b) of this section, the number of aliens who may be issued immigrant visas or who may otherwise acquire the status of an alien lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence, or who may, pursuant to section 1153(a)(7) of this title enter conditionally, (i) shall not in any of the first three quarters of any fiscal year exceed a total of 45,000 and (ii) shall not in any fiscal year exceed a total of 170,000.
 
"(b) The "immediate relatives' referred to in subsection (a) of this section shall mean the children, spouses, and parents of a citizen of the United States: Provided, That in the case of parents, such citizen must be at least twenty-one years of age. The immediate relatives specified in this subsection who are otherwise qualified for admission as immigrants shall be admitted as such, without regard to the numerical limitations in this chapter."

 Where a statute is clear and unambiguous on its face, resort to legislative history in aid of interpretation is unnecessary. Tennessee Valley Authority v. Hill, 437 U.S. 153, 184 n.29, 98 S. Ct. 2279, 2296, 57 L. Ed. 2d 117 (1978); Caminetti v. United States, 242 U.S. 470, 485, 37 S. Ct. 192, 194, 61 L. Ed. 442 (1917). Section 201(b) means what it says: the parent of a citizen child under the age of twenty-one is not an "immediate relative" for purposes of subsection (a) of § 201. By its language, therefore, Congress intended to deny "immediate relative" status to aliens such as George Papakonstantinou based on a minor child's citizenship, notwithstanding occasional hardship or separations such classification might occasion.

 Next, plaintiffs demand that a three-judge court be convened because they seek an injunction to restrain the enforcement of an Act of Congress on the ground that it is unconstitutional. Since this action was commenced before the repeal of 28 U.S.C. § 2282 (repealed August 12, 1976, Pub.L. 94-381, §§ 2, 7, ...


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