U.S. Supreme Court Protects Rights of Immigrants to Apply for Relief from Deportation

On December 12, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an important decision protecting the rights of immigrants convicted of long ago crimes to apply for relief from deportation.

In Judulang v. Holder, No. 10-694, the Supreme Court unanimously held that the government’s policy for deciding when lawful permanent resident immigrants may apply for relief from deportation for pre-1996 guilty plea convictions — deeming such immigrants ineligible for relief if the deportation ground at issue does not have a sufficiently comparable inadmissibility ground  — was arbitrary and capricious in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.

The Court remanded the case for the government to adopt a new approach that does not arbitrarily deny long-term permanent resident immigrants such as Mr. Judulang from applying for relief from deportation.

Mr. Judulang was represented pro bono by Mark Fleming of the law firm of Wilmer Hale.  IDP provided immigration law support and coordinated amicus briefing submitted by national criminal justice organizations in support of Mr. Judulang’s position and prepared pro bono by the law firm of Jenner and Block.

For a practice advisory entitled “Implications of Judulang v. Holder for LPRs Seeking 212(c) Relief and for Other Individuals Challenging Aribitrary Agency Policies” (prepared by IDP along with the National Immigration Project, American Immigration Council and NYU Clinical Law Professor Nancy Morawetz), click here.