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As The Supreme Court Term Begins, What’s in Store for Immigration Law?

With October 3rd marking the beginning of the Supreme Court’s latest term, the eight current Supreme Court Justices entered session to begin work on a full slate of cases. Notably missing from the docket is a re-hearing of U.S. v. Texas, the case involving President Obama’s executive actions that would allow millions of immigrants to postpone deportation and apply for work permits in three-year periods. In June, the shorthanded court came to a 4-4 split decision upholding the lower level court’s decision to block the immigration policies with a preliminary injunction. The Department of Justice requested that the Supreme Court re-hear the case for a definitive decision on the matter. The Supreme Court has refused to review the case, however, and has not provided an explanation for that decision.

Although the Supreme Court will not re-hear the case, it will be hearing three other cases involving issues of immigration and national origin. In Lynch v. Dimaya, the court will hear a case which turns on the question of whether the description of a “crime of violence,” defined by immigration law, is unconstitutionally vague. In that case, a man from the Philippines was convicted of burglary. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) categorized his conviction as a “crime of violence,” thus making him deportable.

The Court will also be hearing the case of Jennings v. Rodriguez, which considers the issue of whether legal permanent residents should be entitled to automatic bond hearings after being detained by immigration authorities for six months. The Plaintiff, Alejando Rodgriguez, represents this very class of people. The lower court ruled that immigrants detained under a provision allowing the government to hold them during their deportation proceedings were entitled to a bond hearing after six months of detention. The ruling of the Supreme Court may affect the already over-burdened immigration courts across the United States.

Lastly, the Court will be hearing the case of Lynch v. Morales-Santana. In that case, the Court will address whether the petitioner, Luis Ramon Morales-Santana, is a citizen by birth. Born in the Dominican Republic to unwed parents, Mr. Morales-Santana is the son of a U.S. citizen father and non-citizen mother. The case turns on gender discrepancy in immigration law: had the mother been the citizen and the father a noncitizen, Mr. Morales-Santana would clearly be a citizen. The lower level court ruled that the petitioner was a U.S. citizen.

If you are living in the United States as a non-citizen and are fearful of facing deportation, the experienced immigration attorneys at Bretz & Coven LLP can help you gain Legal Permanent Resident status or deferred action. The firm will also defend you during removal proceedings and appeals. Call (212) 267-2555 in New York or (732) 313-0075 in New Jersey.

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