We have previously written extensively about the January 2010 Neufeld Memorandum and the recent lawsuit challenging its validity. We wanted to provide some recent updates on the case as it is of great interest to many of our clients and readers.
On June 25, 2010, the government filed a Memorandum in Opposition to the complaint. The opposition is mainly based on technical arguments. However, the government makes also the arguments that its policy-making ability pursuant to memoranda is exempt from the Notice and Comment requirements for rulemaking and that the plaintiffs have failed to show irreparable harm if the preliminary injunction were to be granted and, most interestingly perhaps, that agency memoranda are do not have the force of regulations and are just a suggestion to adjudicators on review criteria.
Subsequently, on July 9, 2010, the plaintiffs filed a reply to the government’s Memorandum of Opposition. In it, the plaintiffs directly address the government’s arguments, including the argument that the policy memoranda does not constitute a regulation. Plaintiffs argue that the policy guidance may not explicitly state that it is binding; however, in spirit and practice, it actually is.
We will continue to monitor the developments in this case as it affects a large number of our readers and clients. Furthermore, the impact of this lawsuit may be broader than just the Neufeld Memorandum as the scope of the case may expand to cover other USCIS memoranda. If you haven’t already, please subscribe to our free weekly newsletter to receive news and updates on this and related topics.