Supreme Court to Hear Cases on Immigrants’ Residence

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On Tuesday, the Supreme Court agreed to decide whether the length of immigrants’ lawful residence in the United States should be considered in determining whether their children may be deported.

The Court also agreed to hear six other cases from among the hundreds of appeals that piled up over the summer. The number of cases accepted by the Justices this year  was unusually small. Last year, they added fourteen cases to the docket.

Federal immigration law allows people who have been lawful permanent residents for at least five years and have lived continuously in the United States for at least seven years to ask the government for leniency if threatened with deportation. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in a series of cases that immigrants who entered the United States as children may count their parents’ years here to satisfy the residency requirements.

The court accepted two appeals from such rulings, consolidating them into a single case.

One of the appeals, Holder v. Gutierrez, No. 10-1542, concerns Carlos M. Gutierrez, a Mexican citizen who became a legal permanent resident of the United States in 2003, when he was nineteen. Two years later, the government sought to deport him after catching him trying to drive across the border from Mexico with three undocumented minors in his car.

The other appeal, Holder v. Sawyers, No. 10-1543, involved Damien A. Sawyers, a Jamaican citizen whom the government sought to deport after he was convicted of “maintaining a dwelling for keeping a controlled substance.” The conviction came nearly seven years after Mr. Sawyers became a lawful permanent resident of the United States in 1995 at the age of fifteen.

Neither man could himself satisfy the criteria that would have allowed him to seek leniency. The Ninth Circuit ruled that the time their parents had spent in the United States could be imputed to them.

In its briefs urging the Justices to hear the case, the Obama administration said the Ninth Circuit’s interpretation of the law was wrong. Lawyers for the two men, in briefs urging the Justices not to hear the cases, said the government had ignored a policy favoring keeping families intact.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, National, Sidebar, The Supremes

One response to “Supreme Court to Hear Cases on Immigrants’ Residence

  1. Pingback: Logarchism » Supreme Court Watch: Holder v. Gutierrez, Sawyers

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