SCOTUS Rules Against Challenging Administrative Proceedings

The Supreme Court has announced a ruling that would prevent immigrants from challenging administrative decisions in federal court. Not only will this remove immigrants’ rights to challenge what they believe could be an unjust or unethical denial of their application for immigration status it could also cripple the economy. Keep reading for more information.

Patel v. Garland

The Supreme Court exists to determine whether decisions or powers exercised by the state are constitutional. The justices review cases brought before the court and evaluate the existing verdict and determine if a precedent will be set in favor of the original decision. If the Supreme Court justices find that the precedent and/or verdict are unconstitutional, they release a decision detailing their reasoning. Once the court issues its decision, it is up to the federal government and states to make the changes concrete with legislation.

Earlier this year, the Court heard a case called Patel v. Garland. This case details the trial of Pankajkumar Patel who entered the United States illegally with his wife Jyotsnaben. Over a decade later, he and his wife applied for discretionary adjustment of status which would make them lawful permanent residents eligible for citizenship.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) knew of Patel’s illegal entry and denied his application because he failed to satisfy the requirement that applicants be admissible for permanent residence. The USCIS found that because Patel falsely represented himself, he gave up his opportunity to become a permanent resident.

This denial led to the eventual initiation of removal proceedings for Patel and his wife. Patel sought relief from removal by renewing his request for adjustment of status. He argued that he mistakenly checked the citizen box on his state application and lacked the intent to violate federal law. The judge disagreed and ordered his removal.

Supreme Review

The Supreme Court sided with the immigration judge and determined that federal courts lack jurisdiction to make decisions related to requests for relief. In other words, if an immigrant believes there may have been a clerical error in decision making, they no longer have the ability to appeal the decision through judicial review.

Legally, many believe that this decision fails to consider the principles of statutory construction which involve the nuances that make each case unique. It also increases the risk of removal for thousands of immigrants applying for immigration status or adjustment of status.

Big Picture

This decision comes at a bad time for the immigration system. Since 2016 the federal government has taken a harsh stance against immigration and migrants seeking safety within U.S. borders. As a result, the number of applications and prospective workers and students dropped dramatically – 45.6% in fact – over the past few years.

At a time when the country is barely recovering after the devastation of COVID-19 and continued economic downturn, making it difficult for foreign talent to enter the American job market could be another blow to the economy. Workers make the world go ‘round so to speak, and foreign workers bring unique ideas and incredible skills to the workforce. Without their valuable contributions, industries could suffer and the economy as a whole.

Not only is the United States in the middle of the most significant labor shortage since World War II, but it is also in a position where workers have more control over the labor shortage than ever. The Great Resignation has yielded nearly an entire generation of workers unwilling to accept poor work conditions and inadequate pay. Limiting the pool of applicants further will not do the country any favors.

What Happens Now?

This decision will make getting immigrant status difficult and is likely to limit the number of foreign workers even more than it already has. The decision also takes away the ability to appeal an unjust denial of immigration status. What happens now is unclear, but if you are an immigrant in need of status in the U.S. or have already been denied you must contact an attorney immediately.

Sintsirmas & Mueller Co. L.P.A. has the experience and knowledge you need to protect your rights in immigration court. Contact our firm today for more information.