Immigration Law

Supreme Court Rules in Patel v. Garland

By Rohini Kurup, Katherine Pompilio
Tuesday, May 17, 2022, 12:29 PM

In a 5-4 decision on May 16, the Supreme Court ruled that federal courts lack jurisdiction to review fact findings in discretionary relief cases related to immigration proceedings. 

The case was brought by ​​Pankajkumar Patel, an Indian citizen who entered the United States in the 1990s without inspection. Patel later applied for a green card application to establish permanent residency. His application was rejected by immigration officials, who determined that Patel misrepresented his citizenship status on an application for a Georgia driver’s license in 2008. Patel claimed that he mistakenly checked the wrong box on the application and appealed the rejection in federal court.

Writing for the majority, Justice Amy Coney Barrett found that federal immmigration statute 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(B)(i) prevents federal courts from reviewing factual findings in cases to determine if noncitizens will be deported or granted permission to remain in the United States. 

Writing in dissent, Justice Neil Gorsuch—joined by Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan—argued, “Today, the Court holds that federal bureaucracy can make an obvious factual error, one that will result in an individual’s removal from this country, and nothing can be done about it.” 

You can read the ruling here or below: