Iglesia Pentecostal Casa v. Johnson

FILED United States Court of Appeals UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS Tenth Circuit FOR THE TENTH CIRCUIT December 6, 2017 _________________________________ Elisabeth A. Shumaker Clerk of Court IGLESIA PENTECOSTAL CASA DE DIOS PARA LAS NACIONES, INC.; ISRAEL MEDINA VALDEZ, Plaintiffs - Appellants, v. No. 16-3265 (D.C. No. 2:15-CV-02612-DDC-GEB) ELAINE C. DUKE, Secretary, United (D. Kan.) States Department of Homeland Security; L. FRANCIS CISSNA, Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; JEFFERSON B. SESSIONS, III, United States Attorney General; RON ROSENBERG, Chief of the Administration Appeals Office of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services; ROSEMARY MELVILLE, Director, California Service Center, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, Defendants - Appellees. _________________________________ ORDER AND JUDGMENT* _________________________________ Before BRISCOE, MATHESON, and PHILLIPS, Circuit Judges. _________________________________  Pursuant to Fed. R. App. P. 43(c)(2) Elaine C. Duke is substituted as Secretary of Homeland Security, L. Francis Cissna, is substituted as Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and Jefferson B. Sessions, III, is substituted as United States Attorney General. * This order and judgment is not binding precedent, except under the doctrines of law of the case, res judicata, and collateral estoppel. It may be cited, however, for its persuasive value consistent with Fed. R. App. P. 32.1 and 10th Cir. R. 32.1. Iglesia Pentecostal Casa De Dios Para Las Naciones, Inc. (“Iglesia”), a Pentecostal church in Kansas City, Kansas, appeals the denial of the visa application it filed on behalf of its music director. Iglesia alleges that one of the visa requirements substantially burdens its religious exercise in violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”). The district court found no substantial burden. Because Iglesia has failed to present a prima facie RFRA claim, we affirm. I. BACKGROUND A. R-1 Visa Program The Immigration and Nationality Act allows ministers and other religious workers to enter and stay in the United States under a non-immigrant visa, known as an R-1 visa, for up to five years. See 8 U.S.C. §§1101(a)(15)(R), 1101(a)(27)(C)(ii); 8 C.F.R. §§ 204.5(m), 214.2(r). To obtain the visa, a religious organization seeking to hire and sponsor an R-1 applicant petitions the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”). The petitioner must: (1) establish that the R-1 applicant has been a member of the same denomination as the petitioner for at least two years preceding the petition—the “denomination requirement”—8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(15)(R)(i), and (2) demonstrate its intention and ability to compensate the R-1 applicant—the “compensation regulation”—8 C.F.R. § 214.2(r)(11).1 1 Specifically, the petitioner must: state how [it] intends to compensate the alien, including specific monetary or in-kind compensation, or whether the alien intends to be self-supporting. In either case, the petitioner must submit 2 Evidence of compensation may include: past evidence of compensation for similar positions; budgets showing monies set aside for salaries, leases, etc.; verifiable documentation that room and board will be provided; or other evidence acceptable to USCIS. Id. § 214.2(r)(11)(i). If available, the petitioner must submit IRS documentation, such as IRS Form W-2 or certified tax returns. Id. Otherwise, it must submit ...

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