On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that federal courts do not have the jurisdiction to decide whether noncitizens will be deported or allowed to stay in the country.
The case involved a couple from India — Pankajkumar Patel and his wife, Jyotsnaben, — who illegally entered the United States in the 1990s. They applied for “adjustment of status,” which would have made them both lawful permanent residents. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) denied their request after finding out that Patel intentionally falsely claimed he was a United States citizen in a Georgia driver’s license application.
Justice Amy Coney Barrett wrote the majority opinion for The Court and Justice Neil Gorsuch joining the three leftist justices in dissent.
“Congress has comprehensively detailed the rules by which noncitizens may enter and live in the United States. When noncitizens violate those rules, Congress has provided procedures for their removal,” Barrett wrote. “At the same time, there is room for mercy: Congress has given the Attorney General power to grant relief from removal in certain circumstances.”
“Federal courts have a very limited role to play in this process,” Barrett continued. “With an exception for legal and constitutional questions, Congress has barred judicial review of the Attorney General’s decisions denying discretionary relief from removal. We must decide how far this bar extends—specifically, whether it precludes judicial review of factual findings that underlie a denial of relief. It does.”
The Court ruled that “Federal courts lack jurisdiction to review facts found as part of discretionary-relief proceedings.”
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