On Friday, May 11, 2012, Benach Ragland filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief on behalf of DreamActivist with the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Cuellar de Osorio v. Mayorkas asking the Court to reject the Board of Immigration Appeals decision in Matter of Wang, which unnecessarily limited the class of individuals who could gain the benefits of the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA). This represents the first time that a Court will hear directly from Dreamers on a question of statutory interpretation and public policy. The brief recounts the stories of six Dreamers who have “aged-out” of eligibility for residence through the petitions that provided residence for their parents and siblings. The brief describes how the Board’s cramped interpretation of the CSPA has resulted in a limbo-like state for these six Dreamers who came to the U.S. as children and waited in long visa queues to immigrate with their parents only to age-out and “get to the back of the line.” Should the 9th Circuit reject Matter of Wang, it will join the Fifth Circuit in rejecting the Board’s position,and it will allow many young people who were the derivative beneficiaries of previous petitions to apply for residence immediately taking advantage of the years they waited prior to their turning 21. It will also allow them to avoid the possibility of lengthy separation from their families, their country and their dreams for their future.
This case represents a the opening of a new front for DreamActivist and Dreamers everywhere in the battle for reasonable immigration laws. While Dreamers have organized admirably and display significant power in the executive and legislative branches, DreamActivist’s entry into the judicial realm provides another forum where the compelling stories of Dreamers can have a significant impact. Dreamers long ago figured out that you can not count on the executive and legislative branch to always do the right thing and DreamActivist’s participation in this lawsuit against the Citizenship & Immigration Service (CIS) recognizes that courts are the final checks on government decision making and power.
Benach Ragland is honored to represent DreamActivist before the Courts of Appeals. We are committed to the DREAM Act, comprehensive immigration reform and the belief that the Dreamers remain their own best advocates as they tell their stories of overcoming daunting odds to succeed in their adopted home and to realize the American Dream.
The Court will take up Cuellar de Osorio in June. Ms. Amy Prokop is representing Ms. Cuellar de Osorio. In addition to DreamActivist, the American Immigration Lawyers Association & the Catholic Legal Immigration Network filed a brief as amicus curiae.