NACARA: Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act

Our Legal Team


Steven L. Tuchman
Director
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Thomas R. Ruge
Director
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Robert W. Rund
Director
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Sarah Moshe

Sarah Moshe
Director
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Ryan C. Marques
Associate
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Manny Herceg
Associate
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Dallin Lykins

Dallin Lykins
Associate
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NACARA: (Nicaraguan Adjustment & Central American Relief Act)

In 1985, a group of religious organizations and refugee advocacy organizations filed a class action lawsuit in federal court against the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) (now USCIS), the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) and the United States Department of State (DOS). The lawsuit is known as American Baptist Churches v. Thornburgh, 760 F. Supp. 796 (N.D. Cal. 1991) (initially known as American Baptist Churches of the U.S.A. v. Meese), and is commonly referred to as the ABC lawsuit. A federal judge subsequently certified a class of Guatemalan and Salvadoran nationals as plaintiffs in the lawsuit. The plaintiffs alleged, among other things, that the INS (now USCIS), EOIR and DOS engaged in discriminatory treatment of asylum claims made by Guatemalans and Salvadorans. In 1990, the government and attorneys representing the certified class settled the class action lawsuit. The ABC settlement agreement was approved by a federal court in January 1991. The ABC settlement agreement provides that an eligible class member who registers for benefits and applies for asylum by the agreed-upon dates (these deadlines were initially defined in the settlement agreement, but the asylum filing deadlines were later extended by agreement of the parties) is entitled to an initial or de novo asylum interview and adjudication under the asylum regulations published July 27, 1990, which became effective October 1, 1990, and special provisions of the settlement agreement.

Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) 203: Eligibility to Apply With USCIS

Eligibility To Apply For NACARA 203 Relief

To be eligible to apply for NACARA 203 relief, you must be one of the following:

  • A Guatemalan who first entered the United States on or before October 1, 1990 (ABC class member); registered for ABC benefits on or before December 31, 1991; applied for asylum on or before January 3, 1995; and was not apprehended at time of entry after December 19, 1990. For more information on ABC benefits, see the "American Baptist Churches v. Thornburgh (ABC) Settlement Agreement.
  • A Salvadoran who first entered the United States on or before September 19, 1990 (ABC class member); registered for ABC benefits on or before October 31, 1991 (either directly or by applying for Temporary Protected Status (TPS); applied for asylum on or before February 16, 1996; and was not apprehended at time of entry after December 19, 1990.
  • A Guatemalan or Salvadoran who filed an application for asylum on or before April 1, 1990 and have not received a final decision on your asylum application.
  • An individual who entered the United States on or before December 31, 1990; applied for asylum on or before December 31, 1991; and at the time of filing the application was from one of the former Soviet bloc countries (Soviet Union, Russia, any republic of the former Soviet Union, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Yugoslavia, or any state of the former Yugoslavia).

You must not have been convicted of an aggravated felony to qualify for NACARA 203.

  • A qualified family member of an individual in one of the above categories is also eligible under NACARA 203.