European Connections & Tours, Inc. vs. Gonzalez, et al., No. 1:06-cv-00426-CC, U.S.D.C., N.D. Ga.
(Temporary Restraining Order, March 07, 2006, Cooper, D.J.)
(*Special Credit to European Connections for
their good lead in the cause against IMBRA.) There is a first positive victory against IMBRA.
It comes from one court and one judge. But it advances the cause against IMBRA, and offers the first legal basis to mount
further successful challenges. A TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER (TRO) against the U.S. Attorney General and the Justice Department
from enforcing the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act of 2005 (IMBRA) against an IMB in Georgia was issued by the
United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia in Atlanta.
The Order was entered today, on
March 08, 2006, with the Clerk's Office for the U.S. District Court. It was signed on March 07, 2006 by Judge Clarence
Cooper. This TRO Order enjoins the U.S. Attorney General and the Justice Department from enforcing IMBRA against the Plaintiff
in the case at hand, European Connections & Tours, Inc., an IMB defined under the law, until such time as Government Attorneys
from the Justice Department submit opposing argument and briefs at a hearing on a motion for PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION, set for
March 20, 2006 at 1:30 PM.
You are welcome to read the Order
and draw your own conclusions.
Print it or save it to your hard drive for your records.
CLICK HERE FOR THE COURT ORDER TRO IN PDF FORMAT
(Public Document in the Court Records)
The PRACTICAL EFFECT of this ruling, though it is worded soley against
European Connections, is that the enforcement of the IMBRA law against other IMBs and their customers in other jurisdictions,
in our opinion, will MOST LIKELY BUT WITHOUT TOTAL CERTAINTY be postponed by the Justice Department at least until the TRO
is lifted. That would seem to be by the hearing date for motion for PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION, namely March 20, 2006. Of course,
that is soley our opinion, and the Justice Department would make that final decision.
Yes, most of you will have
many questions indeed, for myself and other attorneys. One obvious question is do I need to comply with the IMBRA law at this
point? There really are no perfect answers. In light of the probable practical effect
of this federal court TRO, that is an individual decision that will have to be made by each IMB and IMB customer with regards
to the risk involved, at least until the end of the TRO, March 20, 2006. The law is now in litigation, in this case as
well as in probably others around the country, and will not be clarified until final ruling. We are probably moving into a
"gray" world where IMBRA will be "in contest" in the courts for some time.
As for the Order
here, please keep carefully in mind that this ruling emanates from one court in one place. It is not necessarily binding in
other jurisdictions. It appears to very limited in time as well, until the next hearing. But as a practical matter, in our
opinion, the Justice Department will likely choose not to try and enforce the law until at least March 20, 2006 in other locations
and against others.
A very encouraging aspect of the Court's analysis in support of the Order is contained
in the discussion of the legal requirements for issuance of a TRO. The Court found that Plaintiff has a "substantial
liklihood of success on the merits" of the First and Fifth Amendment constitutional claims (free speech and equal protection.)
This means that the Court is very inclined to agree with the principal constitutional arguments against IMBRA as the case
proceeds forward, and the prospects for final victory at least in this court look bright.
Yes, there are
still many unanswered questions. There is more work ahead. We are not done yet with this law. We have a long way to go. We
must be cautious. This is but one battle. This is a good first victory, and provides a basis for more legal challenges ahead
which will also hopefully be successful.
For now, at least for a brief moment, for those of us fighting for the
cause against IMBRA, and after months of discouragement and frustration, we have one positive and encouraging result.
We will continue to monitor the situation.
USA Immigration Attorney
Web: www.USAImmigrationAttorney.comPS: YOUR COMMENTS AND OBSERVATIONS TO THIS BLOG ARTICLE ARE WELCOME.