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Question: I have been in the U.S. for many years. Years back I applied under LULAC and was rejected. I know that there have been court cases on this matter for years. Is there any hope that it will come back or that I will be able to apply under CSS again?

Answer: You are right about the years of court cases. This matter, Catholic Social Services or LULAC has been up and down the court system for years. These types of applications were also known as legalization applications. Now, the U.S. District Court in Sacramento has approved a settlement agreement for persons who were previously rejected for certain reasons. This means, that if you fall under the provisions of the settlement agreement, you might be able to successfully apply for LULAC again in order to obtain Lawful Permanent Residency.

Question: Who is covered under the LULAC settlement agreement?

Answer: 1) You had to live in the United States unlawfully from before January 1, 1982, to a date between May 5, 1987, and May 4, 1988, when you went to an office of the Immigration Service or a Qualified Designated entity to apply for legalization.

2) You, your parent or your spouse visited an INS office or Qualified Designated Entity between May 5, 1987, and May 4, 1988, to apply for legalization.

3) The INS or QDE told you that you were ineligible for legalization because you had traveled outside the United States without INS permission. You, your spouse or your parent returned to the United States with an immigration issued document such as a Student Visa, Visitor Visa or some other Immigration issued document.

4) You do NOT need to have previously “registered” as a LULAC class member or even had a completed application. However, you did need to go the QDE in the specified time period.

Question: What type of evidence do I need to present to win under this LULAC Settlement agreement?

Answer: Clearly, many people do not have the original documents, or even any stamped documents from Immigration. Usually, if the former INS had rejected the application because of what is known as ‘front-desking’, the person was just turned away. Thus, it is not possible in many instances for an applicant to prove that they were rejected. However, the LULAC settlement specifically states that persons who fall under this settlement may establish eligibility for legalization by way of declarations, and not only by original documents. The settlement also provides class members the right to appeal to a “special master,” a judicial officer with the authority to correct the CIS’s errors in the event the agency does not decide a class member’s legalization application promptly, fairly, and in accordance with the settlement’s guidelines.

Question: When can I apply for this?

Answer: The settlement provides that CIS must begin accepting legalization applications no later than May 24, 2004, but the government might decide to begin the one-year application somewhat earlier. This means that individuals will likely have until May 23, 2005, to apply for legalization under the settlement.

Question: Is there any other previous amnesty related provisions that this settlement agreement is applicable toward?

Answer: Actually there are others. Catholic Social Services is another program that is applicable to this settlement agreement. There are a couple of differences. First, you would have had to travel outside the U.S. without authorization after November 6, 1986. Second, you returned to the U.S. without permission.

Brian D. Lerner is an Immigration Attorney Specialist. This firm does every aspect of immigration law including family and employment based petitions, deportation defense and criminal related immigration issues, asylum, naturalization, appeals, nonimmigrant visas, immigrant visas, and all other areas of immigration law. An appointment can be made by calling (866) 495-0554 or (562) 495-0554. The Firm website is

Home » Immigration Updates » LULAC and CSS are back!

LULAC and CSS are back!