Saturday, October 06, 2012

9th Circuit Upholds Religious Workers' Visa Procedures

In Ruiz-Diaz v. United States, (9th Circuit, Oct. 5, 2012), the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected RFRA and 14th Amendment challenges to immigration rules that treat religious workers applying to adjust their immigration status to become permanent residents differently from those in various other employment-based preference categories. (See prior posting.) Rejecting a challenge under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the court said:
The fundamental flaw in the plaintiffs’ reliance on RFRA is that the challenged regulation does not affect their ability to practice their religion. They are subject to removal after five years because their visas have expired, not because they are practicing their religion.
The court also rejected plaintiffs' equal protection and due process challenges to the regulations. Courthouse News Service reports on the decision.