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Lawsuit challenges green card delay

  Law Center  -   POSTED: 2007/07/07 13:22

A woman is seeking class-action status for a lawsuit that claims the federal government violated her constitutional rights when it announced that no new employer-sponsored green card applications would be accepted until the fall.
The lawsuit was filed Friday in federal court by Gabriela Ptasinska, a Polish immigrant who has a temporary work visa sponsored through her job at an engineering consulting firm. It is among the first challenging the U.S. State Department's decision.

In June, the State Department announced that employment visa numbers were available for all people seeking employer-sponsored green cards, except unskilled workers. The announcement meant that as early as this past Monday, Citizenship and Immigration Services would begin accepting applications, which require a lengthy process including certified documents and medical exams.

But an update posted Monday on the State Department Web site said 60,000 such numbers were no longer available because of "the sudden backlog reduction efforts by Citizenship and Immigration Services offices during the past month," meaning no further applications would be authorized, effective immediately.

The department called the backlog reduction efforts an "unexpected action" and said employment visa numbers would be available Oct. 1.

Ptasinska—who flew from Chicago to Lincoln, Neb., on Monday in hopes of being among the first to submit a green card application—is seeking

a ruling that would keep the application from being rejected, according to her attorney Ira Azulay.
The lawsuit names several government officials and agencies, including the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the U.S. Department of State and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

State Department spokeswoman Leslie Phillips said that the agency does not comment on litigation. Calls to Citizenship and Immigration Services went unanswered.

Immigration groups like the American Immigration Lawyers Foundation claim thousands of people across the country have spent time and money on attorneys and the application.

Spokesman Tim Vettel said the foundation is in the process of preparing a similar lawsuit.


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