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Friday, April 18, 2014

Company, mother of twin girls sue Napolitano, federal officials

A private company and an alien worker, who is the mother of twin U.S. citizen girls born on Saipan, have filed a lawsuit in federal court against federal officials for denying her petition for CW-1 permit and request for parole-in-place.

KB Enterprises Inc. and Lucelle Mancia Lampera, through counsel Stephen C. Woodruff, are suing former U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services California Center Director Kathy A. Baran, and USCIS Field Office Director Stephen P. Green.

In the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the NMI on Friday, Woodruff asked the court to declare that the grant of parole status to Lampera under the Nov. 23, 2011, USCIS policy for parole of immediate relatives of U.S citizens in the CNMI is not disallowed by Lampera’s prior admission to CW-1 status.

Woodruff wants the court to rule that the grant of parole status to alien immediate relatives of U.S. citizens is not precluded by a prior admission of such aliens, arguing that such preclusion is inconsistent with the declared objectives of Congress for the transition to federal immigration control in the CNMI.

The lawyer also asked the court to issue a declaratory judgment that the lawful presence requirement of the statute is not authorized by the Consolidated Natural Resources Act (federalization law) and is contrary to the congressionally-mandated performance standards for the transition period and is accordingly invalid and unenforceable.

Lampera first came to the CNMI as a nonresident worker under CNMI law in 1997. In 2001, at the end of her employment, she returned to the Philippines. In 2004, she came back to the CNMI as a visitor, continuing as a student, and finally again as a nonresident worker.

In all her years of residence in the CNMI, Woodruff said that Lampera maintained lawful status, a record that is “now threatened solely because of defendants’ arbitrary, capricious, and legally erroneous implementation and administration of the transition program.”

On Aug. 14, 2000, Lampera gave birth to twin girls. Her U.S. citizen daughters presently reside with her in the CNMI, where she is raising them as a single parent.

In 2009, Lampera was issued an umbrella permit by the CNMI government. In 2011, she was petitioned for CW employment by Emperor Enterprises, owner of Furusato Restaurant and was granted a CW-1 permit on May 3, 2012.

A labor dispute arose with Lampera’s employer over unpaid wages. Consequently, she left her employment and filed a complaint with the CNMI Department of Labor. The complaint was filed on April 3, 2013, while her CW-1 status remained valid.

Woodruff said that Lampera immediately began looking for a new job and also asked USCIS Guam Field Office for parole-in-place based on the policy announced Nov. 23, 2011, offering this benefit to alien parents of U.S. citizens residing in the CNMI.

Woodruff said that KB Enterprises offered lampera a job and filed a CW-1 petition for her on June 12, 2013, a mere 41 days after the expiration date of her original I-94 (record of admission).

Woodruff said that, on Oct. 3, 2013, Baran denied the CW-1 petition on the ground that the beneficiary, Lampera, failed to satisfy the lawful presence requirement.

On Nov. 1, 2013, Green denied Lampera’s request for parole-in-place on the ground that she was ineligible on account of her prior admission to CW-1 status.

Woodruff said that by denying Lampera’s request for parole-in-place and also failing or refusing to consider a grant of deferred status to Lampera, Green violated the congressionally-mandated performance standards for implementation of the transition program.

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