Supreme Court Reaches Verdict on Illegal Immigrants

Supreme Court Reaches Verdict on Illegal Immigrants
  • The Supreme Court has handed down its decision in the case of Patel v. Garland.
  • Federal officials won the case in a 5-4 decision.
  • The judges made it clear that immigrants do not have standing in federal court when they’re unhappy with a DHS decision.
  • The ruling solidified the executive branch’s control of the immigration process.

Supreme Court Makes RULING – 5 To 4!

( – When an American goes to court, there’s an entire appeals process that can reach all the way to the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS). The process for immigrants in USCIS custody is entirely different. Not only is the government not required to provide the detainees with a lawyer, but a new ruling from the high court limits their appeals process as well.

Patel v. Garland

In the 1990s, Pankajkumar Patel and his wife immigrated to the US from India without authorization. He eventually applied for an adjustment of status, which would have allowed him to receive permanent residency (green cards). While his application was pending, Patel applied to renew his Georgia driver’s license and, for whatever reason, he checked the box marked “US citizen.” He didn’t have to be a US citizen in order to receive a driver’s license under state law at the time; nonetheless, he checked the box.

Sometime later, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) denied Patel’s application for adjustment of status. He was placed into deportation proceedings sometime later. He applied for adjustment of status again to try to stop the deportation. An immigration judge denied Patel’s application, ruling that he intentionally checked the box for “US citizen” when he applied for a driver’s license renewal. Patel argued he’d done it unintentionally. The judge’s ruling meant the defendant didn’t meet the requirements necessary to adjust his status.

Patel appealed the case, asking a federal court to review the immigration judge’s factual finding. However, unlike the rest of the court system, federal judges are not allowed to review any “judgment regarding the granting of relief” under five immigration remedies under federal law. Patel appealed to the SCOTUS to ask the justices to clarify the ruling.

The Ruling

On May 16, the SCOTUS ruled 5-4 that immigrants cannot appeal certain decisions to the federal court. Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett penned the majority opinion for the court, stating, “Federal courts have a very limited role to play in [the deportation] process.” The decision by the justices has wide-reaching implications for immigrants who want to appeal their deportation rulings. It essentially means they have no recourse once an immigration judge makes a decision, giving the executive branch the sole authority in the matter.

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