Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary
The short name for a 1998 class-action lawsuit called Catholic Social Services v. Reno. The plaintiffs were undocumented residents who had tried to apply for amnesty under the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) based on their "continuous unlawful presence" in the United States since 1982. The plaintiffs were told that, because they'd taken a brief trip abroad without first getting authorization from immigration officials, theirs was not a "brief, casual, and innocent" departure and therefore broke the required continuity of their U.S. stay, rendering them ineligible for amnesty. After several appeals, the issue was ultimately resolved in the immigrants' favor through passage of the LIFE Act.