Patel V. Garland And Its Meaning For Every Immigrant In The US
On May 16, 2022 the Supreme Court of the United States issued a decision in the case of Patel v. Garland No. 20-979, -- U.S. --, 2022 WL 1528346 (2022). The case could have been unnoticed like hundreds of cases, but this one has ultimate consequences for the Immigration community, and as such the decision has become widely discussed among the immigration advocates for its consequences potentially may affect every immigrant. In its decision, the Supreme Court essentially ends administrative scrutiny discretionary immigration court decisions. Why does it matter? Become with this, an Immigration Judge alone may become the last voice and decision maker in someone’s life.
Events Surrounding Patel’s Case
Mr. Patel entered the US without inspection in the 1990s. Mr. Patel, a non-citizen, applied for Georgian driver’s license. But doing so, chose an option of a “US citizen” for driver’s eligibility. A Georgian driving license was at issue here, not any immigrant advantages. As a result, once Georgia learned that he had misrepresented himself, but Mr. Patel was not prosecuted in connection with identity theft or any other criminal charges.
Later, Mr. Patel applied for discretionary adjustment of status under 8 U. S. C. §1255 with USCIS. USICS was aware of the previous mistake on the Georgian driver’s license application and Patel’s application was denied. Subsequently, Patel was placed in removal proceedings and renewed his adjustment of status application before an Immigration court. This is where an Immigration Judge in Georgia found that because of his inadvertent claim of US citizenship (the marked checkbox on the driver’s application), Mr. Patel does not deserve a green card in the United States, but deserves deportation (or removal) for failure to satisfy the threshold requirement that the noncitizen be statutorily admissible for permanent residence. §1255(i)(2)(A); see also §1182(a)(6)(C)(ii)(I) (rendering inadmissible a noncitizen “who falsely represents . . . himself or herself to be a citizen of the United States for any purpose or benefit under” state or federal law). Interestingly, while in removal proceedings, the government never charged Mr. Patel in the Notice to Appear with the charge of claim of US citizenship...
Patel argued before an Immigration Judge that he had mistakenly checked the “citizen” box on the state application and thus lacked the subjective intent necessary to violate the federal statute. The Immigration Judge disagreed, denied Patel’s application for adjustment of status, and ordered that Patel and his wife be removed from the country. The Board of Immigration Appeals dismissed Patel’s appeal. Patel petitioned the Eleventh Circuit for review, where a panel of that court held that it lacked jurisdiction to consider his claim. Federal law prohibits judicial review of “any judgment regarding the granting of relief” under §1255...
Mr. Patel's situation may have made everyone acquainted with the immigrant process groan at each subsequent level.
As a Georgian resident, his removal procedures were probably held within the Atlanta Immigrant Court with astonishing low records of approval in favor of immigrants. No such information has been provided in any of the published rulings. Patel's issue ended up in the 11th District, another of the districts with one of the lowest percentage of anti-verdicts inside the country…On petition for review to the Eleventh Circuit, Mr. Patel argued that “any reasonable judge would have been ‘compelled to conclude’ that his testimony was credible and that he had made an honest mistake on the form….Apparently, it was not the case.
The US Supreme Court
Following appeals, the highest court in the United States took a look at the situation and decided that Mr. Patel is out of luck. The decision basically confirms that that for all discretionary relieves (apart from asylum, withholding of removal and relief under convention against torture) cancellation of removal, voluntary departure, adjustment of status, and waivers sought pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1182(h) and (i) there is no review of an Immigration Judge’s decision by federal courts.
Notably, the Patel’s decision overrules the jurisdictional holdings finding review of factual determinations related to the enumerated forms of discretionary relief in the following cases:
- Castro v. Holder, 727 F.3d 125 (1st Cir. 2013)
- Rosario v. Holder, 627 F.3d 58 (2d Cir. 2010)
- Mendez-Moranchel v. Ashcroft, 338 F.3d 176 (3d Cir. 2003)
- Garcia-Melendez v. Ashcroft, 351 F.3d 657 (5th Cir. 2003)
- Santana-Albarran v. Ashcroft, 393 F.3d 699 (6th Cir. 2005)
- Ortiz-Cornejo v. Gonzales, 400 F.3d 610 (8th Cir. 2005)
- Mamigonian v. Biggs, 710 F.3d 936 (9th Cir. 2013)
- Arambula-Medina v. Holder, 572 F.3d 824, 828 (10th Cir. 2009)
The Exact Impact of the Decision
As a result, the exact impact of the decision is that pure factual finding (not mixed findings of law and fact) are now going to be non-renewable by federal courts… For example, the date and manner of one’s entry into the US (may be relevant for cancellation of removal or adjustment of status); if a person has a qualifying relative for cancellation of removal; if a person acquired necessary time for cancellation of removal purposes; if a person was convicted of a disqualifying offense (in many situations a skilled advocate may argue the issue involves a mix of law and facts, leaving tiny hope for an appeal). The bottom line: an immigrant has to be aware that they may not have a second chance and must prepare for their trial to the fullest each and every time!