Walters v. Reno

145 F.3d. 1032 (9th Cir. 1998)


D may issue an unappealable final order against an alien who has been accused of document fraud if the alien does not request a hearing in writing within 60 days of receiving the notice of intent to fine ('the fine notice') and the notice of rights/waiver ('the rights/waiver notice') forms. That order renders the alien deportable and permanently excludable. If the alien signs a statement waiving his rights with respect to the document fraud charges, including his right to a hearing, D will immediately issue an unappealable final order assessing a fine and requiring the alien to cease and desist from his wrongful conduct, but the ultimate result that ordinarily will follow soon thereafter will be the issuance of an order of deportation. Walters (P) sued claiming such a procedure violated statutory due process. Ps sought permanent injunctive relief. The forms in question are dense and written in complex, legal language. Ps allege that aliens in document fraud proceedings are not adequately informed of the steps they must take in order to contest the charges brought against them and thus do not learn how to obtain a hearing on them, and they do not learn the true consequences of failing to request that hearing. The judge certified P as a class with the following characteristics: All non-citizens who have or will become subject to a final order under § 274C of the Immigration and Naturalization Act because they received notice forms that did not adequately advise them of their rights, of the consequences of waiving their rights or of the consequences of failing to request a hearing. The judge also held that the procedures and forms used by D in document fraud cases are unconstitutional because they deny aliens their rights to due process of law. The court granted permanent injunctive relief; the terms of the injunction were to be decided after the parties submitted proposals to the court. In its final form D must: (1) revise the two misleading forms (the fine notice and the rights/waiver notice); (2) send notice to possible class members at their last known addresses, and, through a publicity campaign that must include specific attempts to contact all class members inside and outside of the country, publicize the opportunity for class members to reopen their document fraud proceedings; (3) refrain from deporting noncitizens on the basis of § 274C final orders that were entered without a hearing until class members have the opportunity to pursue reopening procedures; (4) reopen § 274C proceedings for each class member who was subject to a § 274C final order, unless the government can show that alien received adequate notice; (5) parole or make other arrangements for class members outside the United States to pursue reopened proceedings; and (6) recharge any alien charged with deficient forms who failed to request a hearing but has not yet been subjected to a final order, unless the government can show that the alien received adequate notice. D appealed.