Valencia v. Lynch

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Administrative Law
  • Date Filed: 02-02-2016
  • Case #: 13-70414
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Nguyen for the Court; Circuit Judge Rawlinson and Senior District Judge Ponsor
  • Full Text Opinion

Where a statute is ambiguous, an agency regulation that provides reasonable interpretation will receive deference upon review.

In 2001, Lawrence Equipment, Inc. (Lawrence) got a labor certification from the US Department of Labor. In 2006, Manuel Valencia arrived in the United States from Mexico on a B-2 tourist visa in 2006. Before Valencia’s visa expired in 2007, Lawrence substituted Valencia as the beneficiary of its labor certification. Subsequently, Valencia applied to adjust his status to that of a lawful, permanent resident. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services denied Valencia’s application because he was not a named beneficiary of Lawrence’s labor certification in 2001; instead, Valencia is a “substituted beneficiary.” Valencia brought his case before an Immigration Judge, who denied Valencia’s application relying on a regulation promulgated by the Attorney General stating that “[a]n alien who was substituted for the previous beneficiary of the application for the labor certification after April 30, 2001, will not be considered to be a grandfathered alien.” Valencia appealed, but the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) affirmed. Valencia appealed to the Ninth Circuit claiming that the BIA erred in applying a state-promulgated regulation to an unambiguous statute. Applying Chevron, the panel held that the Attorney General’s regulation warrants deference because the statute is ambiguous. DENIED.

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