Supreme Court limits illegal immigrants’ ability to appeal deportation orders

by WorldTribune Staff / 247 Real News May 16, 2022

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court on Monday ruled that illegal immigrants have only limited grounds to appeal federal deportation orders.

U.S. Supreme Court / Wikimedia Commons

The high court’s decision applies to cases where an illegal has been ordered deported but then seeks special relief from immigration authorities.

The decision on the facts of the case by immigration authorities are final and cannot be appealed to federal courts, the Supreme Court ruled.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett, writing the majority opinion, said the way Congress wrote the law governing relief from deportation prohibits court “review of any judgment regarding the granting of relief. This plainly includes factual findings.”

The case the justices ruled on involved Pankajkumar Patel, an illegal immigrant who has been in the U.S. for nearly 30 years. When Patel attempted to legalize his citizenry about 15 years ago, he falsely checked on a driver’s license application in Georgia that he was an American citizen.

Patel’s citizenry case was denied, and the government then moved to deport him. He agreed he was deportable, but argued for leniency in a case before the immigration courts, which are an administrative branch within the Department of Justice.

Patel claimed he made an innocent mistake on the driver’s license application. The immigration judge ruled otherwise, saying Patel was generally “evasive” in explaining how he’d claimed citizenship, and that other parts of his story didn’t check out. The judge also saw a pattern, concluding that Patel had previously misrepresented his means of entering the U.S. on an asylum application.

Patel said that was a serious error in fact-finding, and he said that’s the sort of thing the regular independent federal courts should be allowed to review.

Team Biden had largely sided with Patel, saying courts should have the leeway to intervene if they see immigration judges botching cases.

The case turned on language Congress wrote into the law saying “no court shall have jurisdiction to review” immigration authorities’ decisions on whether to grant relief from deportation.

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