Shvartsman complaint, final version

Document Sample
Shvartsman complaint, final version Powered By Docstoc
					                     IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
                    FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
                               EASTERN DIVISION

SARRA SHVARTSMAN, LEONID                   )
TEPER, INNA FRIDMAN, CARATINA              )
MARQUEZ, LEONIDAS PEREZ,                   )
ROSA A. BARRERA de PEREZ,                  )
GENYA SHMELEVICH, IAKOV                    )
SCHMELEVICH, NHOL LIM, LOEUK               )
ROEUN, GRAZYNA KLINCEWICZ,                 )
YER YANG, GER THAO, PROCORO                )
SIFUENTES, and FAI DANG YANG,              )
on behalf of themselves and all others     )
similarly situated,                        )
                                           )
              Plaintiffs,                  )
                                           )
       v.                                  )       No. 97 C 5229
                                           )       Judge Conlon
JAMES J. CALLAHAN, Acting                  )
Commissioner of the Social Security        )
Administration; and DANIEL R.              )
GLICKMAN, Secretary of the                 )
Department of Agriculture,                 )
                                           )
              Defendants.                  )

                               CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT

I.     INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT

       1.     Plaintiffs in this class action are impoverished recipients of cash and Food Stamp

benefits under one or both of two federally financed social welfare programs: the Supplemental

Security Income program ("SSI"), 42 U.S.C. §§1381 et seq.; and the Food Stamp Program, 7

U.S.C. §§2011 et seq..      Defendants are the Acting Commissioner of the Social Security

Administration (the "Commissioner"; "SSA"), who administers the SSI program, and the

Secretary of Agriculture ("Secretary"), who administers the Food Stamp Program.
                                                 2


       2.      All plaintiffs are poor, since SSI and Food Stamp benefits are provided only to

persons whose income is below the poverty line. Indeed, for most plaintiffs receiving SSI

benefits, such benefits are their only source of income. Also, many class members are aged,

blind, or disabled, and some are children.

       3.      Plaintiffs are legal permanent residents of the United States who are eligible to

become naturalized citizens, and who have filed or will file applications for naturalization.

However, because the Immigration and Naturalization Service ("INS") has not acted on their

naturalization applications (or because even if the INS has approved such applications, plaintiffs

have not formally been sworn in as citizens), plaintiffs are not yet citizens of this country. The

naturalization process routinely takes at least six months, frequently takes over a year, and in

some jurisdictions takes as long as two years.

       4.      At all relevant times prior to August 22, 1996, permanent resident aliens have

been eligible for and received SSI and Food Stamps benefits. However, with exceptions not

relevant here, Section 402 of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation

Act of 1996 ("PRA" or "Welfare Act"), Pub .L. No. 104-193, enacted August 22, 1996, makes

only citizens of the United States eligible for SSI and Food Stamps. PRA, §402(a)(1)

(establishing the "citizenship requirement").

       5.      As a direct result of the procedures governing application of the citizenship

requirement to plaintiffs, defendants have terminated or will terminate plaintiffs' SSI and Food

Stamp benefits, even though they have not had a chance to complete the naturalization process,

and even though the great majority of them will become citizens after completion of that process.

       6.      Plaintiffs do not in this case challenge the citizenship requirement itself or any

aspect of the naturalization process or INS's administration of it. They challenge, as violative of
                                                  3


their rights under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States

Constitution, the transition process under which defendants apply or will apply the citizenship

requirement in their cases to determine their continued eligibility for SSI and Food Stamp

benefits. Specifically, they challenge defendants' termination of their SSI and Food Stamp

benefits without having afforded them a full and fair opportunity to establish, through the filing

and completion of their naturalization applications and swearing in as citizens, their continuing

eligibility for such benefits.

        7.      Most plaintiffs (all of whom, by definition, have filed naturalization applications

that are pending) will eventually be sworn in as naturalized United States citizens. However,

because of the time--months or even years--that it takes for naturalization applications to be

processed and applicants to be sworn in as citizens (time over which plaintiffs have little or no

control), it is impossible for most, if not all, plaintiffs, using their best efforts, to become

naturalized before the benefit termination deadlines that defendants, pursuant to the PRA, have

applied, are applying, or will apply to them.

        8.      Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief, without which they will suffer

irreparable harm through the deprivation of subsistence level cash and food assistance.

        (a)     As to the Commissioner, plaintiffs seek an injunction preventing him from

terminating their SSI benefits based on their failure to meet the citizenship requirement until INS

has denied their naturalization applications on the merits, or such applications have been

withdrawn.

        (b)     As to the Secretary, plaintiffs seek an injunction directing him to instruct the state

agencies who administer the Food Stamp Program not to terminate their Food Stamp benefits

based on their failure to meet the citizenship requirement until INS has denied their
                                                  4


naturalization applications on the merits, or such applications have been withdrawn, and to

restore eligibility and benefits to plaintiffs whose benefits he has terminated for failure to meet

the citizenship requirement while they had a naturalization application pending.

II. JURISDICTION AND AUTHORIZATION

       9.       This Court has jurisdiction over this case, under:

       (a)       42 U.S.C. §§ 1383(c)(3), as to the claim on behalf of the SSI Class, as defined in

¶13(a) infra.

       (b)       28 U.S.C. §§1331, 1337, as to the claim on behalf of the Food Stamp Class, as

defined in ¶13(b), infra.

       10.      This action is authorized by:

       (a)      42 U.S.C. §1383(c)(3), as to the claim on behalf of the SSI Class, as defined in

¶13(a) infra.

       (b)      5 U.S.C. §§702, 704, 706 as to the claim on behalf of the Food Stamp Class, as

defined in ¶13(b), infra.

       11.      Declaratory relief is authorized by 28 U.S.C. §2201.

III.   PARTIES

       12.      The named plaintiffs are:

       (a)      SARRA SHVARTSMAN is a 71 year old woman who came to the United States

as a refugee from the Ukraine in the former Soviet Union in 1991. She is currently a legal

permanent resident and a resident of Chicago, Illinois. Ms. Shvartsman is a recipient of SSI and

Food Stamps and is a named plaintiff for both classes defined in ¶13, infra.

       (b)      LEONID TEPER is a 71 year old man who came to the United States as a refugee

from the Ukraine in the former Soviet Union in 1991. He is currently a legal permanent resident
                                                  5


and a resident of Chicago, Illinois. Mr. Teper is a recipient of SSI and Food Stamps and is a

named plaintiff for both classes defined in ¶13, infra.

       (c)     INNA FRIDMAN is a 71 year old woman who came to the United States as a

refugee from the Ukraine in the former Soviet Union in 1991.               She is currently a legal

permanent resident and a resident of Chicago, Illinois. Ms. Fridman is a recipient of SSI and is

a named plaintiff for the class defined in ¶13(a), infra.

       (d)     CARATINA MARQUEZ is a 72 year old woman who immigrated to the United

States from Mexico in 1987. She is currently a legal permanent resident and a resident of

Chicago, Illinois. Ms. Marquez is a recipient of SSI and is a named plaintiff for the class

defined in ¶13(a), infra.

       (e)     LEONIDAS PEREZ and ROSA ALBA BARRERA de PEREZ, and their son and

daughter are recipients of Food Stamps, and Mr. Perez is a recipient of SSI. Mr. Perez is a

named plaintiff for the class defined in ¶13(a), and Mr. and Ms. Perez, on behalf of themselves

and their children, are named plaintiffs for the class defined in ¶13(b), infra.

       (f)     GENYA SHMELEVICH is a 77 year old woman who came to the United States

as a refugee from Lithuania in the former Soviet Union in 1991 with her husband Iakov

Shmelevich. She is currently a legal permanent resident and a resident of Wilmette, Illinois.

Ms. Shmelevich is a recipient of SSI and a named plaintiff for the class defined in ¶13(a), infra.

       (g)     IAKOV SHMELEVICH is an 86 year old man who came to the United States as a

refugee from Lithuania in the former Soviet Union in 1991 with his wife Genya Shmelevich.

He is currently a legal permanent resident and a resident of Wilmette, Illinois. Mr. Shmelevich

is a recipient of SSI and a named plaintiff for the class defined in ¶13(a), infra.
                                                    6


         (h)    NHOL LIM is a 75 year old man who came to the United States as a refugee from

Cambodia in or about 1984. He is currently a legal permanent resident and a resident of

Chicago, Illinois. Mr. Lim is a recipient of SSI and Food Stamps and is a named plaintiff for

both classes defined in ¶13, infra.

         (i)    LOEUK ROEUN is a 72 year old woman who came to the United States as a

refugee from Cambodia in 1981. She is currently a legal permanent resident and a resident of

Chicago, Illinois. Ms. Roeun is a recipient of SSI and Food Stamps and is a named plaintiff for

both classes defined in ¶13, infra.

         (j)    GRAZYNA KLINCEWICZ is a 47 year old woman who immigrated to the

United States from Poland in 1984. She is currently a legal permanent resident and a resident of

Chicago, Illinois. Ms. Klincewicz is a recipient of SSI and Food Stamps and is a named

plaintiff for both classes defined in ¶13, infra.

         (k)    YER YANG is a 72 year old woman who came to the United States as a refugee

from Laos in 1980. She is currently a legal permanent resident and a resident of Madison,

Wisconsin. She is a recipient of SSI and a named plaintiff for the class defined in ¶13(a), infra.

         (l)    GER THAO is a 37 year old man who came to the United States as a refugee

from Laos in 1992. He is currently a legal permanent resident and a resident of Madison,

Wisconsin. He is a recipient of SSI and a named plaintiff for the class defined in ¶13(a), infra.

         (m)    PROCORO SIFUENTES is a 61 year old man who came to the United States

from Mexico in 1987. He is currently a legal permanent resident and a resident of Chicago,

Illinois. He is a recipient of Food Stamps and a named plaintiff for the class defined in ¶13(b),

infra.
                                                    7


        (n)      FAI DANG YANG is a 50 year old man who came to the United States as a

refugee from Laos in 1979. He is currently a legal permanent resident and a resident of

Madison, Wisconsin. He is a recipient of SSI and a named plaintiff for the class defined in

¶13(a), infra.

        13.      The named plaintiffs bring this action on their own behalf and on behalf of all

persons similarly situated pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a) and (b)(2). There are two plaintiff

classes.

        (a)      The "SSI Class" is defined as:

        All persons who:

                        (1) were recipients of benefits under the Supplemental Security Income
                 program ("SSI"), 42 U.S.C. §§1381, et seq, as of August 22, 1996;

                        (2) have had, are having, or will have their eligibility for SSI benefits
                 redetermined pursuant to Section 402(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) of the Personal Responsibility
                 And Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-193
                 ("PRA");

                        (3) are legal permanent residents of the United States;

                        (4) have filed and have pending, before the date of their redeterminations,
                 applications for naturalization with the Immigration and Naturalization Service
                 ("INS"); and

                        (5) as of that date, have not received from INS an adjudication on their
                 applications for naturalization and/or have not been sworn in as citizens.

        (b)      The "Food Stamp Class" is defined as:

        All persons who:

                        (1) were recipients of benefits under the Food Stamp Program, 7 U.S.C.
                 §2011 et seq, as of August 22, 1996;

                        (2) have had, are having, or will have recertifications of their eligibility for
                 Food Stamp benefits conducted pursuant to Section 402(a)(2)(D)(ii)(I) of the
                 Personal Responsibility And Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, Pub.
                 L. No. 104-193 ("PRA");
                                                  8




                       (3) are legal permanent residents of the United States;

                      (4) have filed and have pending, before the dates of their recertifications,
               applications for naturalization with the Immigration and Naturalization Service
               (INS); and

                       (5) as of the date of recertification, have not received from INS an
               adjudication on their applications for naturalization and/or have not been sworn in
               as citizens.

       14.     The SSI and Food Stamp classes are each so numerous that joinder of all

members is impracticable.      There are questions of law and fact common to each class. The

claims of the named plaintiffs for each class are typical of the claims of the class. The named

plaintiffs for each class will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class. The claims

of the representative parties are typical of the claims of the class, thereby making appropriate

declaratory and injunctive relief with respect to the class as a whole.

       15.     Defendant JOHN J. CALLAHAN is the Acting Commissioner of the Social

Security Administration ("SSA"). Under the Social Security Independence and Programs Act,

Pub. L. No. 103-296, he is charged with administering the SSI program.

       16.     Defendant DANIEL R. GLICKMAN is the Secretary of the United States

Department of Agriculture (USDA). By his agents, the State Food Stamp Agencies, he is

responsible for administering the Food Stamp Program. 7 U.S.C. §2014(b).

IV.       STATUTORY AND REGULATORY FRAMEWORK

A.     The SSI Program

17.    Congress created the SSI program under Title XVI of the Social Security Act to provide

indigent individuals who are elderly, blind or disabled with subsistence benefits. 42 U.S.C.

§1381. The Social Security Act sets forth restrictive standards for SSI eligibility. To be eligible
                                                 9


for SSI, individuals must show that they are aged, blind or disabled, as defined in the SSI statute.

See ¶18 infra. They also must meet statutory financial need requirements. See ¶19, infra.

18.      To qualify for SSI based on disability, an individual must suffer from a medically

determinable impairment so severe that the individual "is not only unable to do his previous

work but cannot, considering his age, education, and work experience, engage in any other kind

of substantial gainful work which exists in the national economy." 42 U.S.C. §1382c(a)(3)(B).

To qualify for SSI based on blindness, a person must have "visual acuity of 20/200 or less in

the better eye with the use of correcting lens." 42 U.S.C. §1382c(a)(1)(B)(2). To qualify based

on age, a person must be at least 65 years old. 42 U.S.C. §1382c(a)(1)(A).

19.      To meet the financial need requirements for SSI, an individual must have no more than

$2,000 in countable resources and have countable monthly income below the applicable SSI

benefit level. 42 U.S.C. §1382a and 1382b. The 1997 federal SSI monthly benefit level for

one person is $484 per month. Some states provide supplements for some or all SSI recipients,

but even with these state supplements, SSI benefits in all states fall below the federal poverty

level for one person, which is currently $657.50 per month.        62 Fed. Reg. 10856 (March 10,

1997).

20.      Prior to enactment of the PRA, legal permanent residents and persons residing in the

United States under color of law were eligible for SSI benefits. 42 U.S.C. §1382c(a)(1)(B); 20

C.F.R. § 416.1600. For this reason and others, SSA, prior to the PRA’s enactment, never

advised non-citizen SSI recipients that they needed to apply for citizenship in order to retain their

SSI benefits, or suggested, for any other reason, that they should naturalize.

B.       The Food Stamp Program
                                                 10


21.    Congress enacted the Food Stamp Program in 1964 based on a finding that "the limited

food purchasing power of low-income households contributes to hunger and malnutrition among

members of such households." 7 U.S.C. §2011.          The federal government fully funds the cost

of Food Stamps.

22.    In return for the federally funded benefits and half of the administrative costs, State Food

Stamp agencies ("State Food Stamp Agencies" or "State Agencies") administer the program for

the Secretary in each state, and must do so in conformity with USDA regulations and other

directives. 7 U.S.C. §§2020, 2025. Benefits found in any judicial action to have been wrongly

withheld must be restored for periods up to a year prior to the filing of the action. 7 U.S.C.

§2023(b).

23.    Eligibility for Food Stamps is limited to households whose net income is below the

federal poverty level and whose resources are below $2000, or, if a household member is age 60

or older, $3000. 7 U.S.C. §2014(a) and (g).

24.    Food Stamp eligibility extends throughout a "certification period". 7 U.S.C. 2112(c).

"The certification period shall not exceed 12 months, except that the certification period may be

up to 24 months if all adult household members are elderly or disabled." Id., as amended by

PRA, § 801. Benefits may not extend beyond a certification period unless the State Agency has

made a new determination of eligibility and established a new certification period. 7 C.F.R.

§273.10(f). See 7 U.S.C. §2020(e)(4). Certified Food Stamp households are provided with

special procedures when it is time for them to recertify for benefits, so that, if they remain

eligible, they can transition smoothly into the new certification period with no loss of or gap in

benefits:

[The State Agency shall] insure that each participating household receive a notice of expiration
       of its certification prior to the start of the last month of its certification period advising
                                                11


       the household that it must submit a new application in order to renew its eligibility for a
       new certification period and, further, that each household which seeks to be certified
       another time or more times thereafter by filing an application for such recertification no
       later than fifteen days prior to the day upon which its existing certification period expires
       shall, if found still to be eligible, receive its allotment no later than one month after the
       receipt of the last allotment issued to it pursuant to its prior certification... .

7 U.S.C. §2020(e)(4).

25.    Prior to enactment of the PRA, legal permanent residents and persons residing in the

United States under color of law were eligible for Food Stamp benefits. 7 U.S.C. §2015(f).

For this reason and others, neither the Secretary nor the State Agencies, prior to the PRA’s

enactment, advised non-citizen Food Stamp recipients that they need apply for citizenship in

order to retain their Food Stamp benefits, or suggested, for any other reason, that they should

naturalize.

C.     The PRA

26.    Section 402(a) of the PRA makes citizenship a requirement of eligibility for both SSI and

Food Stamp benefits except that, under the PRA §402(a)(2), the following categories of

non-citizens may retain continuing SSI and Food Stamps eligibility: (a) lawful permanent

residents who can establish or be credited with 40 work quarter credits under Title II of the

Social Security Act; (b) refugees, asylees and persons granted withholding of deportation for the

first five years after being granted that status; and (c) veterans and active duty members of the

Armed Forces, their spouses and unmarried dependent children.

27.    The PRA specifies a “transition process” that governs the application of the citizenship

requirement to individuals who, like plaintiffs, were receiving SSI or Food Stamp benefits as of

the date of enactment of the PRA. PRA, §402(a)(2)(D). Specifically:

       (a)    The PRA directs the Commissioner to: (i) "redetermine" the "eligibility" of

plaintiffs for SSI "during the period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act [August
                                                12


21, 1996] and ending on...[August 22, 1997]"; (ii) in conducting the redeterminations, to "apply

the eligibility criteria for new applicants for benefits under the...[SSI] program", including the

citizenship requirement; and (iii) apply these eligibility criteria, including the citizenship

requirement, only as to "benefits...for months beginning on or after the date of the

redetermination". PRA, §402(a)(2)((D)(i)(I)-(III). In an amendment to the disaster relief bill,

H.R. 1871, passed by Congress on June 12, 1997, and signed by President Clinton, the deadline

for the SSI redeterminations was extended from August 22, 1997, to September 30, 1997.

       (b)     The PRA directs the State Food Stamp Agencies to: (i) conduct a "recertification"

of the "eligibility" of plaintiffs for Food Stamps "during the period beginning on the date of the

enactment of this Act [August 21, 1996] and ending on...[August 22, 1997]"; (ii) in conducting

the recertifications, "apply the eligibility criteria for applicants for benefits under the...[Food

Stamp] program", including the citizenship requirement; and (iii) apply these eligibility criteria,

including the citizenship requirement, only as to "benefits...for months beginning on or after the

date of recertification". PRA, §402(a)(2)((D)(ii)(I)-(III). In the Illegal Immigration Reform

and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-208, April 1, 1997, was established

as the earliest date for the Food Stamp recertifications in which the citizenship requirement

would be applied, so that all the recertifications would take place between that date and August

22, 1997.

D.     The Naturalization Process

28.    The citizenship application process for foreign nationals is known as "naturalization" and

is operated by the INS. An applicant must meet eight basic requirements to be "naturalized": (a)

be a legal permanent resident of the United States; (b) be of good moral character, which

includes a criminal record check based upon fingerprinting; (c) have a basic understanding of
                                                 13


English (this requirement does not apply to certain older and longer term residents, and it may be

waived altogether if physical, mental or developmental disabilities prevent compliance); (d) be

able to pass a test on U.S. history and government (certain older and longer term residents are

given an easier test, and the requirement may be waived altogether if physical, mental or

developmental disabilities prevent compliance); (e) have resided in the U.S. for at least five

years, or three years for the spouse of a citizen; (f) have been physically present in the U.S. for at

least half of the required period of residence; (g) be at least 18 years old (unless naturalized

through special procedures applicable to children); and (h) be committed to the principles of the

United States Constitution and take a loyalty oath administered by a judge or the INS at a

naturalization ceremony. Non-citizen children (under 18) may become citizens without meeting

any of the above requirements, based on their parents having become naturalized citizens. After

their parents become naturalized citizens, their non-citizen children may file proof of that fact

with INS, which then accords the children citizenship status.

29.       Once they are processed, 82% of the naturalization applications are approved by INS.

Report, INS Statistics Division, January 15, 1997 (attached as Exhibit A).

30.       INS Form 400 is the application form for naturalization. Permanent resident aliens file

their applications for naturalization (utilizing INS 400) with one of five regional INS centers.

(The INS regional center in Lincoln, Nebraska, for example, is the center at which naturalization

applicants from Chicago file their applications.)

31.       There are approximately 43 INS District offices or suboffices ("INS offices"), and each

of these offices has some responsibility (e.g., the conduct of naturalization interviews) for the

processing of naturalization applications filed by individuals within their assigned geographical

region.     The amount of time INS takes to act on the naturalization applications, and for
                                                 14


approved applicants to be thereafter sworn in as citizens, varies widely among the INS offices.

However, according to the locale-by-locale reports compiled and published by the American

Immigration Lawyers Association ("AILA") covering the period through February 20, 1997:

       (a)     the naturalization process takes at least six months in virtually all INS offices; and

       (b)     the naturalization process takes from six months to a year or more in most offices

located in large metropolitan centers, which handle the majority of naturalization applications.

For example, the AILA statistics attest that the naturalization process takes from: 630-840 days

in Charlotte; 180-360 days in Chicago; 140-270 days in Denver; 285-395 days in Detroit;

330-420 days in El Paso; 240 days in Houston; 240-330 days in Los Angeles; 420-480 days in

Memphis; 420-480 days in Miami; 210-330 days in New York City; 210-270 days in San

Francisco; and 241 days in Washington D.C./Virginia. Report Card on INS Adjudications

(American Immigration Lawyers Association, April, 1997).

32.    As the total naturalization processing period varies widely among INS offices, so the

delay associated with INS's conduct of the naturalization interview, and the delay associated with

the conduct of the swearing-in ceremony for approved applicants, also varies widely.

       (a)     the time from filing until interview is: 450-600 days in Charlotte; 120-240 days

in Chicago; 240-270 days in Denver; 270-365 days in Detroit; 300-365 days in El Paso; 210 days

in Houston; 180-240 days in Los Angeles; 240-270 days in Memphis; 360-390 days in Miami;

300-320 days in Milwaukee; 180-270 days in New York City; 180-300 days in San Francisco;

and 240 days in Washington, D.C./VA. Id.

       (b)     the time from the interview until the swearing-in ceremony is: 180-240 days in

Charlotte; 60-120 days in Chicago; 1 day in Denver; 15-30 days in Detroit; 30-60 in El Paso; 30

days in Houston; 60-90 days in Los Angeles; 60-90 in Memphis; 60-90 days in Miami; 60-180
                                                15


days in Milwaukee; 30-60 days in New York City; 30-60 days in San Francisco; and 1 day in

Washington D.C./VA. Id.

33.    On information and belief, the AILA February statistics significantly understate the

current actual naturalization processing period.     This is in part because of the substantial

increase in the rate of naturalization applications since February 1997, owing to notices sent to

SSI class members advising them of the citizenship requirement. See ¶36 infra.

34.    On information and belief, the INS caseload of naturalization applications will also grow

substantially in most INS offices as a result of the amnesty that was accorded to unlawful

immigrants in 1991 and 1992. They became lawful permanent residents in 1991 and 1992, so

that they now meet the requirement for naturalization that they have resided in the United States

for five years (as a lawful permanent resident).        They are expected to file a wave of

naturalization applications, in addition to those resulting from the PRA’s enactment.

V.     STATEMENT OF FACTS

A.     The Transition Process

       1.      The Suspension and Termination Process--SSI Benefits

35.    In October 1996, SSA issued new Program Operations Manual System (POMS)

provisions to implement, for the SSI program, the citizenship requirement (the "Oct. 1996

POMS"). The POMS announces policies and procedures to SSA staff for the day to day

operation of programs, including SSI.

36.    Pursuant to the October 1996 POMS, SSA mailed notices ("first wave notices") to

non-citizen recipients of SSI in February and March 1997. SSA mailed some of these first wave

notices in early February 1997, and mailed the remainder over the following eight weeks. SSA
                                                 16


printed most of the first wave notices in English and some in Spanish, but it did not print any in

other languages. The first wave notices advised the recipients to whom they were sent that:

       (a)     they were at risk of losing their SSI benefits because of changes in the law,

including the new citizenship requirement;

       (b)     the changes in the law restricted eligibility for SSI benefits to U.S. citizens or

nationals, or people in one of the "alien [exemption] categories;"

       (c)     to continue to get SSI under the new law, they had 90 days to provide "proof" to

the SSA that they were citizens or nationals of the United States or fit into one of the alien

exemption categories.

37.    The first wave notices did not advise the recipients that, even though they might not

currently be U.S. citizens, if they became naturalized before their redeterminations, they would

retain their eligibility for SSI, assuming they were otherwise eligible for benefits. However,

SSA did include, as an enclosure to the first wave notices, an INS Fact Sheet entitled "How To

Become A United States Citizen" ("INS Fact Sheet"). The INS Fact sheet summarily reviewed

the naturalization requirements and procedure for becoming naturalized.

38.    On information and belief, the first wave notices, including the INS Fact Sheet,

occasioned a substantial increase in the number and rate of naturalization applications that

non-citizen SSI recipients filed. This increase, together with the increase in the number of

naturalization applications associated with the expiration of the five year waiting period for

many permanent resident aliens, see ¶34 above, in turn have increased and threaten to increase

still further the naturalization processing periods in INS offices nationwide.

39.    Pursuant to the October 1996 POMS, SSA was to mail "second wave notices" to

non-citizen SSI recipients in June and July 1997.         These notices have yet not been sent,
                                                  17


however, due to SSA’s uncertainty about whether Congress will enact a law exempting some or

all of the population from the citizenship requirement. Barring such an enactment, the second

wave notices will be sent in August. The second wave notices will be sent to the SSI recipients

who were sent first wave notices but have not yet demonstrated that they satisfy the citizenship

requirement. These notices will be the "redeterminations" called for in the PRA and will advise

recipients that they will lose their SSI benefits effective October 1997.

40.    SSA will suspend SSI benefits for all non-citizens who do not demonstrate that they

satisfy the citizenship requirements. Non-citizens losing SSI will remain in suspension status

for 12 months. If during the 12 month suspension period, a non-citizen demonstrates that she or

he can satisfy the citizenship requirements, SSA will immediately resume payment of SSI,

effective with the date that the citizenship requirements are met. If a non-citizen does not

satisfy the citizenship requirements during the 12 month suspension period, SSA will terminate

SSI.

41.    Pursuant to the transition process described in ¶27, supra, including the benefit

termination deadline, the Commissioner has terminated, is terminating or will terminate the

benefits of approximately 500,000 SSI recipients for their failure to meet the citizenship

requirement.    However, because of the time -- months or even years -- that it takes for

naturalization applications to be processed and applicants to be sworn in as citizens (time over

which SSI recipients have little or no control), it is impossible for most, if not all, SSI recipients,

using their best efforts, to become naturalized before the benefit termination deadline that the

Commissioner has applied, is applying, or will apply to them.

       2.      The Termination Process--Food Stamps
                                                 18


42.     The Secretary has not instructed or advised the State Agencies to send notices to the

Count II plaintiffs (who are all Food Stamp recipients), advising them of the law changes

affecting non-citizens’ eligibility for Food Stamps in the PRA. State agencies are only required

to notify recipients of the need to recertify, not of any new eligibility requirements that will be

applied at recertification. See ¶24, supra. Accordingly, most of the members of the Food

Stamp Class have received no formal notice that, when their State agencies next recertify their

eligibility for Food Stamp benefits (which, under the PRA §402(a)(2)(D)(ii)(I), must be by

August 22, 1997), their Food Stamp benefits will be terminated unless they can prove that they

have become naturalized citizens. Similarly, most of the members of the Food Stamp Class have

received no notice that they can retain their eligibility for Food Stamp benefits if they naturalize

before their recertifications.

43.     Under the transition process described in ¶27 supra, the Secretary, by the State Food

Stamp agencies, has terminated, is terminating, or will terminate the benefits of approximately

1,000,000 Food Stamp recipients for their failure to meet the citizenship requirement. However,

because of the time -- months or even years -- that it takes for naturalization applications to be

processed and applicants to be sworn in as citizens (time over which food stamp recipients have

little or no control), it is impossible for most, if not all, food stamp recipients, using their best

efforts, to naturalize before the benefit termination deadlines that the Secretary, by the State

Agencies, has applied, is applying, or will apply to them.

B.      The Named Plaintiffs

Sarra Shvartsman

44.     Plaintiff Sarra Shvartsman, who is 71 years old, lives with her husband Leonid Teper in

Chicago, Illinois. Her husband and she entered the United States as refugees from the Ukraine
                                               19


in the former Soviet Union in 1991. She was considered a refugee because of persecution

against her in the former Soviet Union because she is a Jew.

45.    Ms. Shvartsman and her husband began receiving SSI benefits in 1991 based on age.

They currently receive $726 per month in SSI benefits as a couple. They also receive $10 per

month in Food Stamps. Ms. Shvartsman’s social security number is 324-86-8554.

46.    Ms. Shvartsman’s father was imprisoned under the Stalin regime in the Soviet Union

when she was 11 years old. He died in confinement and she never saw him again. When Ms.

Shvartsman was 15 years old, her mother, grandmother, brother, and she were confined to

house arrest in the ghetto in Odessa by the Germans for four years. Her family and she

narrowly escaped death numerous times during this period. After World War II ended, Ms.

Shvartsman taught high school in the former Soviet Union for over 30 years before she retired.

47.    Ms. Shvartsman applied for naturalization as a United States citizen in February 1996.

On August 14, 1996, she passed the INS interview. Since that time, she has not heard from the

INS regarding the oath ceremony.

48.    The Social Security Administration, in a notice dated March 3, 1997, informed Ms.

Shvartsman that she would lose her SSI benefits unless she submitted proof of U.S. citizenship

or membership in one of the non-citizen exemption categories.

49.    Neither the Department of Agriculture nor the Illinois Department of Public Aid (the

state Food Stamp agency in Illinois) has informed Ms. Shvartsman that she could lose her Food

Stamps as a result of the changes contained in the PRA.

50.    Ms. Shvartsman and her husband (also a legal permanent resident) subsist on $726 per

month in SSI benefits and $10 a month in Food Stamps. If she and her husband lose their SSI

and Food Stamps, they will be unable to support themselves.
                                                  20




Leonid Teper

51.    Plaintiff Leonid Teper, who is 71 years old, lives with his wife Sarra Shvartsman in

Chicago, Illinois. His wife and he entered the United States as refugees from the Ukraine in the

former Soviet Union in 1991. He was considered a refugee because of persecution against him

in the former Soviet Union because he is a Jew.

52.    Mr. Teper and his wife began receiving SSI benefits in 1991 based on age. They

currently receive $726 per month in SSI benefits as a couple. They also receive $10 per month

in Food Stamps. Mr. Teper’s social security number is 324-86-7638.

53.    Mr. Teper was a soldier in the Russian Army during World War II and fought against the

Nazis. He stayed in the Russian military for 27 years. After leaving the army, Mr. Teper

worked in a clothing factory.

54.    Mr. Teper applied for naturalization as a United States citizen in February 1996. On

August 14, 1996, he passed the INS interview. Since that time, he has not heard from the INS

regarding the oath ceremony.

55.    The Social Security Administration, in a notice dated March 3, 1997, informed Mr. Teper

that he would lose his SSI benefits unless he submitted proof of U.S. citizenship or membership

in one of the non-citizen exemption categories.

56.    Neither the Department of Agriculture nor the Illinois Department of Public Aid (the

state Food Stamp agency in Illinois) has informed Mr. Teper that he could lose his Food Stamps

as a result of the changes contained in the PRA.
                                                21


57.    Mr. Teper and his wife (also a legal permanent resident) subsist on $726 per month in

SSI benefits and $10 a month in Food Stamps. If he and his wife lose their SSI and Food

Stamps, they will be unable to support themselves.

Inna Fridman

58.    Plaintiff Inna Fridman, who is 71 years old, lives with her husband in Chicago, Illinois.

Her husband and she entered the United States as refugees from the Ukraine in the former

U.S.S.R. in 1991. They were considered refugees because of persecution against them in the

former Soviet Union because they are Jews.

59.    Ms. Fridman and her husband began receiving SSI benefits in 1991 based on age. They

currently receive $726 per month in SSI benefits. Ms. Fridman’s social security number is

327-86-2076.

60.    Ms. Fridman and her husband both applied for naturalization as U.S. citizens in April

1996. Her husband was sworn in as a U.S. citizen in November 1996.

61.    Ms. Fridman's application for naturalization has been delayed. First, her naturalization

application was misplaced by INS staff. Then, INS informed Ms. Fridman that her fingerprints

were unclassifiable, and she was required to submit a new set taken by computer. Since she

submitted her fingerprints taken by computer in February 1997, she has not heard anything from

the INS concerning her application for naturalization.

62.    The Social Security Administration, in a notice dated March 17, 1997, informed Ms.

Fridman that she would lose her SSI benefits unless she submitted proof of U.S. citizenship or

membership in one of the non-citizen exemption categories.

63.    Ms. Fridman and her husband rely solely on receipt of $727 per month in SSI benefits

and a small state supplementary payment for their food, shelter, and clothing. If Ms. Fridman
                                                 22


loses SSI benefits while she is waiting to become a U.S. citizen, she and her husband will lose

about one third of their subsistence income and will not be able to meet their basic subsistence

needs.

Caratina Marquez

64.      Plaintiff Caratina Marquez, who is 72 years old, lives with her daughter and

grandchildren in Chicago, Illinois. She immigrated to the United States in 1987.

65.      After coming to the United States, Ms. Marquez worked for seven years providing child

care. In approximately 1994, Ms. Marquez was severely injured in an automobile accident and

suffered a fractured skull, ribs, and leg. She also developed emphysema after the accident, as a

result of damage to her lungs from the accident. She has been unable to work since she was

injured in the automobile accident.

66.      Ms. Marquez is currently receiving monthly SSI benefits of $435. Her social security

number is 352-84-3717.

67.      The Social Security Administration sent a notice to Ms. Marquez in or about February

1997 which informed her that she would lose her SSI benefits unless she submitted proof of U.S.

citizenship or membership in one of the noncitizen exemption categories.

68.      Ms. Marquez applied for naturalization as a U.S. citizen on or about June 6, 1997, in

response to receipt of notice from SSA that her SSI benefits may be ended. Her application is

still pending.

69.      Ms. Marquez relies on her $435 SSI monthly payment for her food, shelter, and clothing.

If she loses her SSI, she will be unable to support herself.

Leonidas Perez and Rosa Alba Barrera de Perez
                                                23


70.     Plaintiffs Leonidas and Rosa Alba Barrera de Perez are husband and wife. Mr. Perez is

77 years old, and Ms. Perez is 50 years old. They live together with their 14 year old daughter

and 11 year old son in Chicago, Illinois. The Perez family immigrated to the United States from

Ecuador in 1989. They are legal permanent residents of the United States.

71.     Mr. Perez worked in a packing factory when he arrived in the U.S. He was fired after 1

year and 7 months because he could not keep up with the demands of the job. Ms. Perez

worked in a frozen-food processing plant for 4 years. She has been unable to work recently as

she suffers from severe arthritis brought on by her work in the cold factory.

72.     Mr. Perez currently receives $432 per month in SSI benefits. Ms. Perez receives a

TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) grant from the State of Illinois for herself and

the two children of $377 per month, and the family receives $277 in Food Stamps.      Mr. Perez’s

social security number is 334-82-3013.

73.     The Social Security Administration, in a notice dated on or about February, 1997,

informed Mr. Perez that he would lose his SSI benefits unless he submitted proof of U.S.

citizenship or membership in one of the noncitizen exemption categories. Neither the

Department of Agriculture nor the Illinois Department of Public Aid (the state Food Stamp

agency in Illinois) has informed the Perezes that they could lose their Food Stamps as a result of

the changes contained in the PRA.

74.     Mr. and Ms. Perez applied for naturalization in March 1997, after receiving the notice

from SSA that Mr. Perez’s SSI benefits could terminate. Their applications for naturalization

are still pending.

75.     Mr. and Ms. Perez and their son and daughter rely on the receipt of the SSI and Food

Stamps to pay their rent and buy food and clothing. If the Perez family loses SSI benefits while
                                                24


Mr. and Mrs. Perez are waiting to become U.S. citizens, they will not be able to meet their

basic subsistence needs. Mr. and Ms. Perez fear that their daughter will have to drop out of

school to go to work to support the family.

Genya Shmelevich

76.    Plaintiff Genya Shmelevich, who is 77 years old, lives with her husband Iakov

Shmelevich in Wilmette, Illinois. Her husband and she entered the United States as refugees

from Lithuania in the former Soviet Union in 1991. She was considered a refugee because of

persecution against her in the former Soviet Union because she is a Jew. She is currently a legal

permanent resident.

77.    Ms. Shmelevich and her husband began receiving SSI benefits in 1991 based on age.

They currently receive a total of $726 per month in SSI benefits as a couple. They also receive

$10 per month in Food Stamps. Ms. Shmelevich’s social security number is 356-84-4492.

78.    Ms. Shmelevich served as a pharmacist in the Russian Army during World War II. After

the war, she continued to work as a pharmacist until her retirement.

79.    The Social Security Administration, in a notice dated March 10, 1997, informed Ms.

Shmelevich that she would lose her SSI benefits unless she submitted proof of U.S. citizenship

or membership in one of the noncitizen exemption categories.

80.    Ms. Shmelevich applied for naturalization in May 1997, after receiving the notice from

SSA that her SSI benefits could terminate. Her application for naturalization is still pending.

81.    Neither the Department of Agriculture nor the Illinois Department of Public Aid (the

state Food Stamp agency in Illinois) has informed Ms. Shmelevich that she could lose her Food

Stamps as a result of the changes contained in the PRA.
                                                   25


82.     Ms. Shmelevich and her husband (also a legal permanent resident) subsist on $726 per

month in SSI benefits and $10 a month in Food Stamps. If she and her husband lose their SSI

and Food Stamps, they will be unable to support themselves.

Iakov Shmelevich

83.     Plaintiff Iakov Shmelevich, who is 86 years old, lives with his wife, Genya Shmelevich,

in Wilmette, Illinois. His wife and he entered the United States as refugees from Lithuania in

the former Soviet Union in 1991. He was considered a refugee because of persecution against

him in the former Soviet Union because he is a Jew. He is currently a legal permanent resident.

84.     Mr. Shmelevich and his wife began receiving SSI benefits in 1991 based on age. They

currently receive a total of $726 per month in SSI benefits as a couple. They also receive $10

per month in Food Stamps. Mr. Shmelevich’s social security number is 356-84-2871.

85.     Mr. Shmelevich served in the Russian Army during World War II. After the war, he was

a gymnastics coach until his retirement.

86.     The Social Security Administration, in a notice dated March 10, 1997, informed Mr.

Shmelevich that he would lose his SSI benefits unless he submitted proof of U.S. citizenship or

membership in one of the noncitizen exemption categories.

87.     Mr. Shmelevich applied for naturalization in May 1997, after receiving the notice from

SSA that his SSI benefits could terminate. Because of his cerebral arteriosclerosis, he has

progressive memory loss, and has applied for a waiver of the language and civics tests. His

application for naturalization is still pending.

88.     Neither the Department of Agriculture nor the Illinois Department of Public Aid (the

state Food Stamp agency in Illinois) has informed Mr. Shmelevich that he could lose her Food

Stamps as a result of the changes contained in the PRA.
                                                26


89.     Mr. Shmelevich and his wife (also a legal permanent resident) subsist on $726 per month

in SSI benefits and $10 a month in Food Stamps. If they lose their SSI and Food Stamps, they

will be unable to support themselves.

Nhol Lim

90.     Plaintiff Nhol Lim, who is 75 years old, lives alone in Chicago, Illinois. He entered the

United States as a refugee from Cambodia in 1984. Mr. Lim fled Cambodia in approximately

1979. He left Cambodia because the Viet Cong had killed his adopted son in the war. Mr. Lim’s

understanding was that the Viet Kong, and their Cambodian allies, the Khmer Rouge, targeted

family members of soldiers who fought against them. Thus, because Mr. Lim believed that his

life was at risk if he stayed in Cambodia, he fled to Thailand. Mr. Lim stayed in a refugee camp

in Thailand for approximately four years until he was allowed to enter the United States.

91.     Mr. Lim currently receives $484 per month in SSI benefits and approximately $50 per

month in Food Stamps. Mr. Lim’s social security number is 341-74-8450.

92.     Mr. Lim applied for naturalization as a U.S. citizen in approximately October 1996. His

application is still pending.

93.     The Social Security Administration, in a notice dated on or about February, 1997,

informed Mr. Lim that he that he would lose his SSI benefits unless he submitted proof of U.S.

citizenship or membership in one of the noncitizen exemption categories.

94.     Neither the Department of Agriculture nor the Illinois Department of Public Aid (the

state Food Stamp agency in Illinois) has informed Mr. Lim that he could lose his Food Stamps as

a result of the changes contained in the PRA.

95.     Mr. Lim relies solely on receipt of SSI benefits and Food Stamps for his food, shelter,

and clothing. If Mr. Lim loses SSI benefits while he is waiting to become a U.S. citizen, he will
                                               27


not be able to meet his basic subsistence needs. If Mr. Lim loses his Food Stamps, he will not

make it through the month with enough to eat. Although Mr. Lim has some relatives living in

the United States, they are not able to support him financially if he loses his SSI and Food

Stamps.

Loeuk Roeun

96.    Plaintiff Loeuk Roeun, who is 72 years old, lives alone in Chicago, Illinois. She entered

the United States as a refugee from Cambodia in 1984.           Ms. Roeun fled Cambodia in

approximately 1979. She left Cambodia because the Khmer Rouge had captured her husband

and three of her children. Her husband died after being captured by the Khmer Rouge. She has

had no contact with her three children since they were captured in 1979. Ms. Roeun took two

other children and fled to a refugee camp in Thailand. She lived in the refugee camp for

approximately two years until she was allowed to leave for the United States in 1981.

97.    Ms. Roeun currently receives $484 per month in SSI benefits and approximately $57 per

month in Food Stamps. Ms. Roeun’s social security number is 336-70-7669.

98.    Ms. Roeun applied for naturalization as a U.S. citizen in approximately December 1996.

Her application is still pending.

99.    The Social Security Administration, in a notice dated on or about February, 1997,

informed Ms. Roeun that she that she would lose her SSI benefits unless she submitted proof of

U.S. citizenship or membership in one of the noncitizen exemption categories.

100.   Neither the Department of Agriculture nor the Illinois Department of Public Aid (the

state Food Stamp agency in Illinois) has informed Ms. Roeun that she could lose her Food

Stamps as a result of the changes contained in the PRA.
                                                28


101.    Ms. Roeun relies solely on receipt of SSI benefits and Food Stamps for her food, shelter,

and clothing. If Ms. Roeun loses SSI benefits while she is waiting to become a U.S. citizen, she

will not be able to meet her basic subsistence needs. If Ms. Rouen loses her Food Stamps, she

will not have enough food to get her through the month. Although Ms. Roeun has some

children living in the United States, they are not able to support her financially if she loses her

SSI and Food Stamps.

Grazyna Klincewicz

102.    Plaintiff Grazyna Klincewicz, who is 47 years old, lives alone in Chicago, Illinois. She

immigrated to the United States with her parents from Poland in 1984.

103.    Ms. Klincewicz currently receives $484 per month in SSI disability benefits due to

epilepsy and a spinal cord deformity. Ms. Klincewicz also receives approximately $57 per

month in Food Stamps. Ms. Klincewicz’s social security number is 339-70-3984.

104.    The Social Security Administration, in a notice dated March 17, 1997, informed Ms.

Klincewicz that she would lose her SSI benefits unless she submitted proof of U.S. citizenship or

membership in one of the noncitizen exemption categories.

105.    Ms. Klincewicz applied for naturalization as a U.S. citizen on or about April 24, 1997, in

response to receipt of notice from SSA that her SSI benefits may be ended. Her application is

still pending.

106.    Neither the Department of Agriculture nor the Illinois Department of Public Aid (the

state Food Stamp agency in Illinois) has informed Ms. Klincewicz that she could lose her Food

Stamps as a result of the changes contained in the PRA.

107.    Ms. Klincewicz relies solely on receipt of SSI benefits and Food Stamps for her food,

shelter, and clothing. If Ms. Klincewicz loses SSI benefits while she is waiting to become a
                                               29


U.S. citizen, she will not be able to meet her basic subsistence needs. She depends on the Food

Stamps to get her through the month. If she loses the Food Stamps, she will not have enough

food. Although Ms. Klincewicz has family living in the United States, they are not able to

support her financially if she loses her SSI and Food Stamps.

Yer Yang

108.   Plaintiff Yer Yang, who is 72 years old, lives with her husband in Madison, Wisconsin.

She is Hmong, and entered the United States as a refugee from Laos in 1980. Ms. Yang’s

husband, Shoua Yer, fought under the direction of the United States C.I.A. against the North

Vietnamese in southeast Asia. After South Vietnam fell to the North Vietnamese in 1975, Ms.

Yang and her husband hid in the forests of Laos until 1979 while the Hmong guerilla insurgency

continued against the North Vietnamese. In 1979, Ms. Yang and her husband escaped Laos, and

went to a refugee camp in Thailand. They entered the United States as refugees in 1980. Ms.

Yang and her husband have no children.

109.   After entering the United States, Ms. Yang worked as a dishwasher at the University of

Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin for approximately 5 years, until she reached retirement age of

65. When she reached age 65, Ms. Yang began receiving SSI benefits. Currently, she and her

husband receive $726 per month in SSI benefits.         Ms. Yang’s social security number is

389-86-4947.

110.   Ms. Yang applied for naturalization as a U.S. citizen in approximately November 1996.

Her application is still pending. Her husband, Shoua Yer, also applied for naturalization. It is

unclear whether he will be able to naturalize because he may not be able to take a meaningful

oath, see ¶28(h), supra, because he suffers from advanced Parkinson’s Disease. If he cannot
                                               30


naturalize, Ms. Yang’s husband, who fought for the United States C.I.A. in Southeast Asia, will

lose his SSI benefits due to the PRA.

111.   The Social Security Administration, in a notice dated on or about March, 1997, informed

Ms. Yang that she that she would lose her SSI benefits unless she submitted proof of U.S.

citizenship or membership in one of the noncitizen exemption categories.

112.   Ms. Yang and her husband rely solely on receipt of SSI benefits and Food Stamps for

their food, shelter, and clothing. If Ms. Yang loses SSI benefits while she is waiting to become

a U.S. citizen, she and her husband will not be able to meet their basic subsistence needs. This

will be compounded if her husband is unable to naturalize and loses his SSI benefits.

Ger Thao

113.   Plaintiff Ger Thao, who is 37 years old, lives alone in Madison, Wisconsin. He is

Hmong, and entered the United States as a refugee from Laos in 1980. Mr. Thao fought under

the direction of the United States C.I.A. against the North Vietnamese in southeast Asia from

approximately 1972 to 1975. After South Vietnam fell to the North Vietnamese in 1975, Mr.

Thao hid in the forests of Laos until 1979 and continued to fight the North Vietnamese with

other Hmong soldiers until 1979. In 1979, Mr. Thao escaped from Laos, and went to a refugee

camp in Thailand. After living for approximately 13 years in the refugee camp in Thailand, Mr.

Thao entered the United States as a refugee in June 1992.

114.   While living in the refugee camp in Thailand, Mr. Thao became ill and was left paralyzed

and confined to a wheelchair. Doctors in Wisconsin believe that he may have contracted polio

or some other infectious disease in Thailand. As a result, Mr. Thao qualified for SSI disability

benefits after he arrived in the United States. Currently, he receives $484 per month in SSI

benefits. Mr. Thao’s social security number is 447-02-6588.
                                                31


115.   Mr. Thao will be filing for naturalization as a U.S. citizen in the near future. His

application has been delayed while he obtains a statement from his doctor that states that he is

unable to do the English language and civics tests because of his disability.

       116.    The Social Security Administration, in a notice dated on or about March, 1997,

informed Mr. Thao that he that he would lose his SSI benefits unless he submitted proof of U.S.

citizenship or membership in one of the noncitizen exemption categories.

117.   Mr. Thao relies solely on receipt of SSI benefits for his food, shelter, and clothing. If

Mr. Thao loses SSI benefits while he is waiting to become a U.S. citizen, he will not be able to

meet his basic subsistence needs.

Fai Dang Yang

118.   Plaintiff Fai Dang Yang, who is 50 years old, lives with his family in              Madison,

Wisconsin. He is Hmong, and entered the United States as a refugee from Laos in 1979. Mr.

Yang fought under the direction of the United States C.I.A. against the North Vietnamese in

southeast Asia from approximately 1972 to 1975.          After South Vietnam fell to the North

Vietnamese in 1975, Mr. Yang escaped from Laos, and went to a refugee camp in Thailand. In

1979, he and his family left the refugee camp and entered the United States as refugees.

119.   After entering the United States, Mr. Yang worked at various jobs, including work as a

janitor, repairing cars, and delivering food to schools. Mr. Yang also obtained vocational

machine shop training.

120.   In April 1991, Mr. Yang had a stroke. As a result, he is paralyzed, unable to walk and

unable to speak. He is totally dependent on his wife and daughter to care for his basic needs.

He began receiving SSI benefits in December 1991, and currently receives $363 monthly in SSI,
                                                 32


and $234 monthly in Wisconsin supplemental disability benefits. Mr. Yang’s social security

number is 586-28-9587.

121.    Mr. Yang filed for naturalization as a U.S. citizen in October 1996. He has not yet been

notified of a date for his naturalization interview with the INS. He is seeking waiver of the

language and civics tests because of the stroke that he suffered.

122.   The Social Security Administration, in a notice dated on or about February, 1997,

informed Mr. Yang that he that he would lose his SSI benefits unless he submitted proof of U.S.

citizenship or membership in one of the noncitizen exemption categories.

123.   Mr. Yang relies solely on receipt of SSI benefits for his food, shelter, and clothing. If

Mr. Yang loses SSI benefits while he is waiting to become a U.S. citizen, he will not be able to

meet his basic subsistence needs.

Procoro Sifuentes

124.   Procoro Sifuentes came to the United States from Mexico in 1987. He worked full-time

in Chicago as a landscaper from 1988 to 1995, when he was laid off. In April, 1996, he filed for

SSI benefits due to complications from his HIV disease. Mr. Sifuentes was found disabled by

SSA in September, 1996, with an onset date of disability of April, 1, 1996. He was denied SSI

benefits based on his citizenship status on February 7, 1997.

125.   Mr. Sifuentes receives $100 per month from the State of Illinois’ Transitional Assistance

program. In addition to this cash assistance, which is the only cash assistance available to him

from the State, Mr. Sifuentes receives Food Stamps of $120.

126.   Neither the Department of Agriculture nor the Illinois Department of Public Aid (the

state Food Stamp agency in Illinois) has informed Mr. Sifuentes that he could lose his Food

Stamps as a result of the changes contained in the PRA.
                                                33


127.    Mr. Sifuentes takes 24 pills a day for his HIV, which has developed into full blown

AIDS.    The loss of his Food Stamps would be devastating, given his need for getting proper

nutrition while he taking his HIV medication.

C.      The Plaintiff Classes

128.    Defendants have applied, are applying, and will apply to the members of each plaintiff

class the benefit termination policy they have applied, are applying or will apply to the named

plaintiffs for each class; and, as a result of this policy, defendants have terminated, are

terminating, or will terminate the SSI and/or Food Stamp Benefits of most, if not substantially

all, members of the plaintiff classes.

D.      Irreparable Injury/No Adequate Remedy At Law

129.    Unless the challenged benefit termination policies are enjoined, the named plaintiffs and

members of the two plaintiff classes will suffer irreparable injury, occasioned by the loss of the

subsistence SSI and Food Stamp benefits previously paid to them. The loss of such subsistence

benefits spells hunger, homelessness, illness for virtually all class members, and even death for

some of them.

130.    There is no adequate remedy at law.

VI.     CLAIMS

131.    The SSI termination policy, as described in ¶¶40 and 41, supra, violates the rights of the

members of the SSI class under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United

States Constitution, in that it deprives them of their SSI benefits for failure to satisfy the

citizenship requirement without providing them a fair opportunity to meet that requirement.

132.    The Food Stamp termination policy, as described in ¶43 supra, violates the rights of the

members of the Food Stamp Class under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the
                                                 34


United States Constitution, in that it deprives them of their right to recertify for food stamp

benefits for failure to satisfy the citizenship requirement without providing them a fair

opportunity to meet that requirement.

VII.   PRAYER FOR RELIEF

Wherefore, plaintiffs pray that this Court:

A. Declare that defendants' termination of plaintiffs' SSI and Food Stamp benefits for failure to

meet the citizenship requirements pursuant to the transition procedures described in ¶¶40, 41 and

43 violates their rights under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United

States Constitution.

B. Enter preliminary and permanent injunctions:

       1. Enjoining the Commissioner from terminating plaintiffs' SSI benefits based on their

failure to meet the citizenship requirement until INS has denied their naturalization applications

on the merits, or such applications have been withdrawn.

       2.    Directing the Secretary to instruct the State Agencies to continue to conduct

recertifications of plaintiffs’ eligibility for Food Stamps benefits without applying the citizenship

requirement and not terminate their Food Stamps benefits based on their failure to meet the

citizenship requirement until INS has denied their naturalization applications on the merits, or

such applications have been withdrawn.

       3. Directing the Secretary to instruct the State Agencies to resume the eligibility of

plaintiffs who have been terminated due to the citizenship requirement prior to their

naturalization applications having been denied or withdrawn and restore any benefits they have

lost as a result of such termination.

C. Award plaintiffs their attorneys’ fees and costs.
                                               35


D. Award such other and further relief as this Court deems just and appropriate.

                                    Respectfully submitted,



                                    _________________________________
                                    One of Plaintiffs’ Attorneys

Attorneys for Plaintiffs:

JOHN M. BOUMAN
DANIEL J. LESSER
MARGARET STAPLETON
POVERTY LAW PROJECT
NATIONAL CLEARINGHOUSE FOR LEGAL SERVICES, INC.
205 W. Monroe, 2nd Floor
Chicago, IL 60606
Tel.: 312-263-3830

LINTON JOAQUIN
NATIONAL IMMIGRATION LAW CENTER
1102 S. Crenshaw Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90019
Tel.: 213-938-6452

GERALD A. McINTYRE
HERB SEMMEL
NATIONAL SENIOR CITIZENS LAW CENTER
2639 La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034
Tel.: 310-204-6015

SUE AUGUSTUS
THOMAS YATES
SSI COALITION FOR A RESPONSIBLE SAFETY NET
205 W. Monroe, 3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60606
Tel.: 312-460-8402




Of Counsel:

ROBERT E. LEHRER
                                      36


DIANE REDLEAF
LEHRER & REDLEAF
205 W. Monroe, 3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60606
Tel.: 312-332-2121

CARRIE LEWIS
FOOD RESEARCH AND ACTION CENTER
1875 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 540
Washington, DC 20009-5728
Tel.: 202-986-2200

SHELLEY DAVIS
BRUCE GOLDSTEIN
FARMWORKER JUSTICE FUND, INC.
1111 19th St. NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20036
Tel.: 202-776-1757