Ruiz-Diaz v. U.S.

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Immigration
  • Date Filed: 10-05-2012
  • Case #: 11-35580
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Schroeder for the Court, Circuit Judge Gould and Senior District Judge Rakoff
  • Full Text Opinion

The restriction on non-citizens filing an adjustment of status application concurrently with an employer’s petition for a religious worker visa does not violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), nor is it unconstitutional under Equal Protection or Due Process.

Plaintiffs are a class of non-citizen religious workers in the United States on a five-year special immigrant religious worker visa. All visa holders are eligible to file an adjustment of status to become lawful permanent residents (LPR). However, religious workers are not eligible to file their applications for LPR until their employers’ petitions have been approved. Plaintiffs sought permission to file adjustment of status applications concurrently with the employer visa petitions on the grounds that the restriction violates the RFRA, Equal Protection, and Due Process. The Court found that the restriction does not affect Plaintiffs’ practice of religion; therefore it does not violate RFRA. Additionally the application process does not violate Equal Protection because it does not target any specific religious group, rather it treats every group the same. Finally Plaintiffs cannot claim that their Due Process rights have been violated unless they have a “legitimate claim to entitlement.” The Court held in a prior Ninth Circuit decision that “adjustment of status does not confer a right to concurrent filings,” so there is no “legitimate claim to entitlement.” AFFIRMED.

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