Young (plaintiff) was adopted by her aunt in Hong Kong and allowed to immigrate to the United States based on that adoptive relationship. In 1984, she filed petitions to confer preferential immigration status on her natural siblings under section 203(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (INA). The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) approved the petitions and forwarded them to the U.S. consulate in Hong Kong. Young’s siblings applied for visas when they first became available in 1994. The consulate returned the petitions and said that they should not have been granted as Young had no legal relationship to her natural siblings. Young filed an action for declaratory judgment in district court, and the INS revoked three of the four petitions. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the INS. Young then appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.