4.17.2012

SCOTUS Resolves Split Re Interpretation of IIRIRA

Here is the West synopsis of Vartelas v. Holder 132 S.Ct. 1479 (March 28, 2012), which resolved a circuit split regarding the interpretation and application of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA):


Background: Lawful permanent resident (LPR) alien, a native and citizen of Greece, petitioned for review of a decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), 2009 WL 331200, denying his motion to reopen removal proceedings. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Kearse, Circuit Judge, 620 F.3d 108, denied petition. Certiorari was granted.

Holding: The Supreme Court, Justice Ginsburg, held that, assuming that provision of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) superseded prior case law and prevented lawful permanent resident alien from departing, even briefly, from the United States without having to seek admission upon his return, provision could not be applied retroactively to LPR alien who committed felony offense years prior to provision's effective date.


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