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Title Headnotes
Federal Bureau of Investigation Participation in Wire Interceptions in Cases Where It Lacks Investigative Responsibility

Under 18 U.S.C. § 2516(1), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) may be judicially authorized to participate in Title III interceptions of wire or oral communications directed at narcotics-related offenses, even though the Drug Enforcement Administration and not the FBI has general investigative responsibility for such offenses.

The plain language of §2516(1) authorizes the FBI to participate in court-approved interceptions directed at any of the offenses listed in that section, and the legislative history lends support to its “ plain meaning” interpretation.

Applicability of the Federal Advisory Committee Act to Law Enforcement Coordinating Committees

If the functions of Law Enforcement Coordinating Committees (LECCs) are limited to the exchange of information, or to making operational decisions involving law enforcement matters, they will not be covered by the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). However, to the extent that a LECC performs “advisory functions” by giving advice and recommendations to federal officials, it would be subject to the FACA’s requirements when performing those functions.

Extension of District Court Jurisdiction Under § 1110 of the Federal Aviation Act

Section 1110 of the Federal Aviation Act authorizes the President to extend that Act to areas outside the United States, but does not authorize an analogous extension of the geographic jurisdiction of a district court for purposes of enforcing certain of the Act’s provisions. An executive order extending the Act to the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI) would make its provisions part of the law of the TTPI, and enforceable through the TTPI judicial system.

Procedures for Implementing the Reciprocity Provisions of the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920

While the Department of Interior has no legal obligation to adopt substantive, prospective standards for applying the “reciprocity” provision of 30 U.S.C. § 181, if it chooses to do so it should comply with the public, notice-and-comment procedures applicable to agency rulemaking under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). If the Department of the Interior instead continues to determine on a country-by-country basis whether another country’s laws and regulations accord American investors “similar or like privileges,” APA procedures would not be considered applicable to such decisionmaking. However, an adequate record for judicial review of the substance of the ultimate decision should be made.

As previously concluded, the Secretary of the Interior has authority under the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 to “mirror” restrictive practices of another country. The question whether the Secretary is required to do so, or whether he could choose to take some more extreme action such as barring any investment by the other country’s citizens, is not addressed.

Disclosure of Information Collected Under the Export Administration Act

Information collected under the Export Administration Act which is authorized to be made available to other federal agencies under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980 may be released by the Department of Commerce to federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies without a prior determination that it would serve the national interest to do so.

Section 12(c) of the Export Administration Act was not intended to prohibit disclosure to other federal agencies, but merely prohibits disclosure of certain confidential trade information to the public.

Confidential information obtained pursuant to the Export Administration Act which is not covered by the Paperwork Reduction Act, and is exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, may be released to federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies notwithstanding the prohibition in 18 U.S.C. § 1905, if the Secretary of Commerce determines under § 12(c) of the Export Administration Act that failure to make such disclosure would be contrary to the national interest.

In the exercise of his discretion under § 12(c), the Secretary of Commerce is subject to the review and direction of the President, and the President thus has the power, which he has previously exercised, to direct the Secretary to make a determination and authorize release of information.

Status of Persons Who Emigrate for Economic Reasons Under the Refugee Act of 1980

Under the Refugee Act of 1980, a “refugee” is defined as a victim of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion; economic hardship by itself is not a basis for eligibility as a refugee under the Act.

Refugee status under the Refugee Act of 1980 should normally be considered on an individual basis. While the Immigration and Naturalization Service may apply commonly known circumstances to people falling within particular groups without requiring the facts necessary to determine eligiblity to be proved individually in each and every case, group determinations should generally be reserved for situations in which the need to provide assistance is extremely urgent and political reasons preclude an individual determination of status.

Fear of prosecution for departing a country in violation of its travel laws is not sufficient to entitle an individual to refugee status, unless it can be shown that such prosecution would be motivated by one o f the proscribed reasons. If the country treats departure as a political act and punishes that act in a harsh and oppressive manner, such circumstances would qualify as “persecution on account of . . . political opinion” under the Act.

Constitutionality of Legislation Authorizing Permanent Resident Status for Certain Nonimmigrant Aliens

Legislation which would grant permanent residence status to certain nonimmigrant alien workers residing in the Virgin Islands, and at the same time restrict these individuals’ ability to obtain the entry of relatives under otherwise applicable provisions of the Immigrant and Nationality Act, does not violate the Equal Protection Clause.

The application of the equal protection principle to aliens is subject to the special powers of Congress over immigration and naturalization, and even the constitutional rights of citizens must yield where they clash with the paramount power of Congress over the admission and exclusion of aliens.

Proposed Interdiction of Haitian Flag Vessels

Proposed executive agreement between the government of Haiti and the United States, by which the U.S. Coast Guard is to stop and board Haitian flag vessels on the high seas in order to prevent Haitians from entering the United States illegally, is authorized both by the U.S. immigration laws, and by the President’s inherent constitutional power to protect the Nation and to conduct foreign relations.

Authority for provision in proposed agreement with Haiti, by which the Coast Guard will detain Haitians emigrating in violation of Haitian law and return them to Haiti, derives from the President’s statutory power to guard the borders against illegal entry of aliens, and from his inherent constitutional power in the field of foreign relations.

Restrictions on Canadian Ownership of Federal Mineral Leases Under the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920

The provisions of 30 U.S.C. § 181, which bar ownership of leases under the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 by citizens of a foreign country whenever the laws of that country deny “similar or like privileges” to U.S. citizens, reflect a reciprocity principle under which the United States would be able to respond in kind when another country restricts American investment in its minerals. Accordingly, the United States may take responsive steps “mirroring” Canadian restrictions on foreign investment in its mineral resources, so as to restore “similar or like privileges” between U.S. and Canadian citizens for purposes of § 181.

Legislation Prohibiting Payment of Interest on Compensation Awards Under the 1980 Omnibus Territories Act

Congress may eliminate or modify claims which are purely statutory without violating the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, unless those claims have ripened into final judgments. Thus, legislative repeal of a provision requiring payment of interest on compensation awards authorized by 48 U.S.C. § 1424c is constitutionally permissible, except insofar as it purports to affect cases in which an award of damages has become final.

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