On May 16th, 2022, US Supreme Court passed a ruling in the case Patel v. Garland, U.S., No. 20-979, which limits the role of Federal Courts in reviewing of factual determinations in Immigration Removal cases.
Justice Amy Coney Barrett wrote the majority opinion, wherein she noted that “the federal courts have a very limited role to play in this process and that the immigration law precludes judicial review of factual findings that underlie a denial of relief.” The court ruled 5-4 against Mr. Patel.
Mr. Patel and his wife had illegally entered the US 30 years ago in 1992 and in 2007 he had applied for an employment based Green Card. However, later his employment based Green Card application was denied by USCIS as he had falsely misrepresented on his driver's license application that he was a US Citizen.
Following the denial of the Green Card Application, the Department of Homeland Security ultimately placed him, his wife and one of his sons in deportation proceedings. Later, when he went before an immigration judge, he argued that he had checked the wrong box by accident. However, he lost his case before the immigration judge and the decision was later upheld by the Board of Immigration Appeals that said he had not shown that his decision to check the box was an innocent mistake.
Later Mr. Patel appealed to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, but the court said it did not have jurisdiction to hear the claim to review the Board of Immigration's factual findings.
Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the dissenting opinion, he noted that "It is no secret that when processing applications, licenses and permits the government sometimes makes mistakes. In circumstances like that, our law has long permitted individuals to petition a court to consider the question and correct any mistake." He further wrote “With so many applications receiving such abbreviated treatment, who can be surprised that DHS sometimes makes serious errors; and that until today, courts could correct mistakes like these.”
Justice Neil Gorsuch also noted that the immigration judge had rested his decision on the fact that he didn't think Patel had checked the wrong box mistakenly, and the erroneous belief that Patel wouldn't have been able to receive the license without saying he was a citizen. Gorsuch said the federal courts should be able to review such claims. In the dissent he joined Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan.
Following the Supreme Court decision, Mr. Jeremy McKinney, President Elect of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) noted that, “This decision strips non-citizens of an important avenue for relief after incorrect decisions by immigration judges. It does so by ignoring the plain language of the statute, which narrowly bars review only of judgments regarding the granting of relief. Many of those facing deportation have lived in our communities, raised families, and contributed to our shared prosperity for years; in this case an innocent mistake on a DMV form should have been reviewable. This decision is deeply disappointing to me as an attorney, but more than that it is detrimental to our nation's fundamental obligation to treat people fairly, irrespective of their country of origin.”
We regularly update our blog section to acquaint the community with to latest changes in Immigration policies. Please note the information in this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be nor should it be construed as legal advice. We can promptly and efficiently represent clients located anywhere in the US or abroad on US Immigration Policies. If you seek further clarification, don't hesitate to contact SanSha Law Office at [email protected] or call us at 469-777-6161.