Immigration Case on SCOTUS 2011-2012 Docket

The Supreme Court recently granted certiorari to an immigration case which will affect whether admitted resident aliens and their out-of-status children may accrue the right to seek leniency against government threats of deportation in the same amount of time.

Under federal law, individuals who have been lawful permanent residents for at least five continuous years in the United States have a right to seek to block their own deportations. Other legally-admitted immigrants may obtain the same right to seek leniency after seven years of continuous, lawful residence in the U.S. Some courts have refused to deport individuals who were brought to the United States as undocumented children, by interpreting the residence requirement more loosely. In two separate cases, Ninth Circuit found that an individual, whose childhood was spent living with lawfully-admitted parents in the U.S., met the residency requirement to seek to block his or her own deportation, since a parent’s years of legal residence could be imputed to the child. For more information on the original cases, see SCOTUSblog.

On Sept. 27. the Supreme Court agreed to consider whether a legally-admitted parent’s years of legal residence could be imputed to an undocumented child. The Court’s ruling will likely address the doctrine of plenary power, which since Fong Yue Ting, has given Congress largely unfettered power over immigration policy, including laws affecting deportation. In a recent L.A. Times article, U.S. Solicitor Gen. Donald Verrilli Jr. stated that the 9th Circuit’s approach “precludes uniform administration of the immigration laws [and] also impedes the government’s high-priority efforts to remove criminal aliens.”

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