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Walters v. Reno

Maria Walters and others v. United States Immigration and Naturalization Service

No. 96-36304 United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

1998 U.S. App. LEXIS 9846, May 18, 1998.

In this case, the court found that certain government forms were so difficult to read that they violated due process requirements that people be given “notice” of possible legal actions against them, and of the legal consequences of their own actions.

In brief, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found that immigrants subject to deportation based on INS charges that they committed document fraud did not get due process. The forms used by INS to tell the plaintiffs that they might be deported did not “simply and plainly communicate” legal consequences to the plaintiffs. The court ordered INS to redo the forms to communicate better. The court also ordered INS to refrain from deporting anyone whose case had been processed using the deficient forms.

Read the complete text of the decision for more details.