Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Collins Foods International, Inc. v. INS case brief

Collins Foods International, Inc. v. INS case brief summary
948 F.2d 549 (1991)

Petitioner, operator of a restaurant, was subjected by an Immigration and Naturalization Service Administrative Law Judge to a civil penalty under 8 U.S.C.S. § 1324a(a)(1)(A) for hiring an alien unauthorized to work in the United States. The judge found that petitioner had constructive knowledge of the alien's status and petitioner appealed the judgment.

Petitioner, a restaurant operator, extended a job offer to the employee, by telephone. When the employee reported for work, petitioner accepted as documentation of authorization to work a driver's license and a forged document appearing to be a Social Security card. The Immigration and Naturalization Service charged petitioner with hiring an alien, knowing that he was unauthorized to work, in violation of 8 U.S.C.S § 1324a(a)(1)(A).


  • The administrative law judge decided that petitioner had constructive knowledge that the employee was an illegal alien based on the facts that petitioner offered the employee the job without having seen his documentation and that petitioner did not compare the Social Security card to examples provided in the INS manual. 
  • The court held that the regulations defined "hiring" as the time when an employee began work for wages and that petitioner was not required to examine the documents before that time. 
  • Furthermore, the statute provided that documentation need only reasonably appear to be valid to meet the verification requirement. 
  • The court reversed, holding that as matter of law petitioner did not have constructive knowledge of the employee's status.

The court held that, as a matter of law, neither petitioner's failure to verify the employee's documentation before hiring, nor its failure to compare the back of the employee's forged Social Security card with the examples in the Immigration and Naturalization Service manual, were sufficient to charge petitioner with constructive knowledge of employee's unauthorized status. The order of the judge was reversed.

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