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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.

LULAC

The short name for a 1993 class-action lawsuit called League of United Latin American Citizens ("LULAC") v. INS. The plaintiffs were undocumented people 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, but were told by immigration authorities that, because they'd taken a brief trip abroad and returned with facially valid documentation, they'd broken the continuity of their unlawful stay and didn't qualify for amnesty. After many appeals, the issue was ultimately resolved in the immigrants' favor through passage of the LIFE Act.

LIFE Act

The common name for the Legal Immigration Family Equity Act, signed into law by President Clinton in 2000. The Act included many changes to the immigration laws, including an extension of Section 245(i) (allowing certain categories of green card applicants who wouldn't otherwise be eligible to adjust status in the United States to do so by paying a penalty fee); a new K-3 visa category allowing married people to use a version of the existing "fiancé visa" to enter the United States in order to apply for adjustment of status (rather than completing the entire permanent residence application overseas); and a new V visa category for spouses and children of lawful permanent residents who had filed an immigrant visa petition on or before December 21, 2000 but who after three years were still waiting for petition approval or for their Priority Date to become current and a visa to become available.

Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act

The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRAIRA) represents an effort by Congress to strengthen and streamline U.S. immigration laws. The Act was designed to improve border control by imposing criminal penalties for racketeering, alien smuggling and the use or creation of fraudulent immigration-related documents and increasing interior enforcement by agencies charged with monitoring visa applications and visa abusers.

Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, http://www.uscis.gov/ilink/docView/PUBLAW/HTML/PUBLAW/0-0-0-10948.html

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Chinese Exclusion Act

The Chinese Exclusion Act, signed into law on May 6, 1882, by President Chester A. Arthur, effectively terminated Chinese immigration for ten years and prohibited Chinese from becoming US citizens. All Chinese persons- except travelers, merchants, teachers, students, and those born in the United States-were barred from entering the United States and Chinese residents, regardless of how long they legally worked in the United States, were ineligible to become naturalized citizens. The law was repealed by the Magnuson Act in 1943 during World War II.

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