Romanian Priest Out of Luck on Residency Status

     (CN) – A Washington church sank its Romanian youth pastor’s chance at permanent U.S. residency by sitting on the application too long, the 9th Circuit ruled.
     Elim Church of God, in Bellevue, started the labor-certification process for Romanian national Romeo Fulga back in 2002, but waited until 2009 to follow up with the required “Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker,” also called an I-140 petition. Meantime, the rules changed.
     Labor certifications “existed in a state unaffected by time” prior to 2007, when the Department of Labor issued a 180-day expiration rule to combat a black market for labor certifications.
     The rule also required entities like the church that already hold labor certification to file an I-140 petition within 180 days after the new regulation became final. The church waited a year and a half, and Fulga’s petition was rejected.
     The church and Fulga sued, claiming that they had not been properly notified of the rule change. A Seattle federal judge granted the government summary judgment, and a three-judge appellate panel affirmed Wednesday.
     “Sometimes, as Delmore Schwartz and Tolian Soran have observed, ‘time is the fire in which we burn,’ Judge Sidney Thomas wrote for the unanimous panel in Seattle.
     The panel found, as did the lower court, that “publication of the proposed and final rules in the Federal Register afforded adequate notice of the revision, and that the regulation was not impermissibly retroactive.”

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