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Supreme Court cases (2000-2009) - Immigration law

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Nijhawan v. Holder (2009)

Petitioner's removal from the U.S. based on his commission of an "aggravated felony" is affirmed, where the $10,000 threshold in 8 U.S.C. section 1101(a)(43)(M)(i) refers to the particular circumstances in which an offender committed a fraud or deceit crime on a particular occasion, rather than to an element of the fraud or deceit crime.

Flores-Figueroa v. United States (2009)

Defendant's aggravated identity theft conviction is reversed where 18 U.S.C. section 1028A(a)(1) requires the government to show that a defendant knew that the means of identification at issue belonged to another person.

Nken v. Holder (2009)

The Court of Appeals' denial of Petitioner's motion to stay his removal pending judicial review of a BIA ruling is reversed, where traditional stay factors, not the demanding 8 U.S.C. section 1252(f)(2) standard, govern a Court of Appeals' authority to stay an alien's removal pending judicial review.

Negusie v. Holder (2009)

In an application for asylum, the denial of the application based on Petitioner's persecution of others is reversed, where the Board of Immigrant Appeals misapplied Fedorenko v. US, 449 U.S. 490 (1981), as mandating that whether an alien is compelled to assist in persecution is immaterial for prosecutor-bar purposes. The BIA must interpret the statute, free from this mistaken legal premise, in the first instance.

 Dada v. Mukasey (2008)

In the context of aliens who have requested and been granted voluntary departure from the U.S., which is a form of discretionary relief that avoids certain statutory penalties, such an alien must be permitted an opportunity to withdraw a motion for voluntary departure, provided the request is made before expiration of the departure period.

Gonzales v. Duenas-Alvarez (2007)

In the context of 8 U.S.C. section 1101(a)(43)(G), which provides for removal from the United States of an alien convicted of "a theft offense ... for which the term of imprisonment [is] at least one year," the term "theft offense" in the statute includes the crime of "aiding and abetting" a theft offense.

United States v. Resendiz-Ponce (2007)

The Ninth Circuit's reversal of respondent's conviction for illegally attempting to reenter the U.S. is reversed where the indictment at issue was not defective, and consequently, the Supreme Court did not need to answer the question of whether the omission of an element of a criminal offense from a federal indictment can constitute harmless error.

Lopez v. Gonzales (2006)

In the context of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and crimes falling under the term "aggravated felony," a state offense constitutes a "felony punishable under the Controlled Substances Act" only if it proscribes conduct punishable as a felony under that federal law.

Fernandez-Vargas v. Gonzales(2006)

In the context of reinstatement of orders of removal on illegal entrants, Immigration and Nationality Act section 241(a)(5) applies to those who reentered the U.S. before the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act's (IIRIRA) effective date and does not retroactively affect any right of, or impose any burden on, the violator of the INA before the Court.

Gonzales v. Thomas (2006)

A judgment in an asylum case holding that a particular family fell within the scope of the statutory term "particular social group" and was persecuted on that basis is vacated where the "ordinary 'remand' rule" should have been applied since an agency had not yet considered whether the family presented the kind of "kinship ties" that constitute a "particular social group."

Clark v. Martinez (2005)

Under immigration statute 8 U.S.C. section 1231(a)(6), the Secretary of Homeland Security may detain inadmissible aliens beyond the 90-day removal period, but only for so long as is reasonably necessary to achieve removal.

Jama v. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (2005)

Title 8 U.S.C. section 1231(b)(2), which prescribes the procedure for selecting the country to which an alien ineligible to remain in the U.S. will be removed, permits an alien to be removed to a country without the advance consent of that country's government.

Leocal v. Ashcroft (2004)

State DUI offenses, which either do not have a mens rea component or require only a showing of negligence in the operation of a vehicle, are not crimes of violence under 18 U.S.C. section 16.

Demore v. Kim (2003)

Congress may require that deportable criminal aliens be detained for the brief period necessary for removal proceedings. Federal courts have jurisdiction to review a constitutional challenge to a detention under the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. section 1226(c).


Hoffman Plastic Compounds, Inc. v. Nat'l Labor Relations Bd. (2002)

Federal immigration policy, as expressed by Congress in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, foreclosed the NLRB from awarding backpay to an undocumented alien who has never been legally authorized to work in the United States but has been terminated from his US job in violation of the National Labor Relations Act.


Zadvydas v. Davis (2001)

Under 8 USC 1231(a)(6), the government may detain aliens admitted to the United States but subsequently ordered removed beyond the normal 90 day period, but only for a period reasonably necessary to secure the aliens removal.


Immigration and Naturalization Serv. v. St. Cyr (2001)

Where lawful permament resident would have been eligible for a waiver of deportation under the immigration law in effect when he was convicted, but commenced removal proceedings after AEDPAs and IIRIRAs effective dates, the discretionary relief is still available.

Calcano-Martinez v. Immigration and Naturalization Serv. (2001)

Circuit courts do not have jurisdiction to review appeals pursuant to 8 USC 1252(a)(1), but district courts may hear habeas corpus petitions pursuant to 28 USC 2241 in a challenge to the Board of Immigration Appeals determination of ineligibility to apply for a discretionary waiver of deportation under 8 USC 1182(c).

Nguyen v. Immigration and Naturalization Serv. (2001)

8 USC 1409(a), setting forth citizenship requirements for one born out of wedlock and abroad to a citizen father and a noncitizen mother, does not violate equal protection simply by use of gender specific terms because of the biological difference between the parents.



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