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Hootkins Settlement

USCIS is posting this Notice because Judge Snyder of the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles has approved the Settlement Agreement in the case Hootkins v. Napolitano, CV-07-5696.

The Hootkins case was about the ability of an alien widow(er) of a citizen to immigrate, if the citizen dies while the widow(er)’s case is pending.

On January 6, 2009, Judge Snyder certified the Hootkins case as a class action for Ninth Circuit cases.  Congress amended the immigration law in October 2009 to provide that the spouse of a citizen can remain eligible to immigrate, despite the citizen’s death, even if the alien and the citizen were married for less than 2 years.  The new law is Public Law 111-83, which took effect on October 28, 2009.  Based on this change in the law, the Hootkins plaintiffs and the Government agreed to settle the Hootkins case.  Judge Snyder has now given file approval to the Settlement Agreement, and the case is no longer pending in court.

A copy of the Settlement Agreement and a copy of the Notice of Judge Snyder’s approval of the Settlement Agreement can be found in the link at the bottom of this page.

Class Members (Eligibility)
The following individuals are considered Hootkins Class Members:

  • All aliens whose United States citizen spouse died before the couple's two-year wedding anniversary, and whose citizen spouse filed an I-130 petition and a Form I-864 or I-864EZ affidavit of support on behalf of the alien spouse, so long as he or she can also demonstrate that:
    •  (1) the Form I-130 petition is now pending with or was adjudicated by a USCIS office located within the jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit, or
    • (2) at the time of the citizen spouse's death, either the alien or the citizen spouse resided within the jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit.
  • All aliens who, within ninety days of admission to the United States as a nonimmigrant fiancé(e), married the petitioning United States citizen, and whose citizen spouse died before the couple's two-year wedding anniversary, so long as he or she can also demonstrate that the citizen spouse filed an I-129F petition and a Form I-864 or I-864EZ affidavit of support on behalf of the individual, and
    • (1) the Form 1-129F petition is now pending with or was adjudicated by a USCIS office located within the jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit, or
    • (2) at the time of the citizen spouse's death, either the alien or the citizen spouse resided within the jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over cases in California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Settlement Agreement

A copy of the Settlement Agreement can be found in the link at the bottom of this page.
A Class Member’s rights under the Settlement Agreement are listed at pages 6-8 of the Settlement Agreement in paragraphs 14, 15 and 16.

Notice

A copy of the Notice of Judge Snyder’s approval of the Settlement Agreement can be found in the link at the bottom of this page.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 04/09/2010