January 21, 2010

Supreme Court Protects Immigrants’ Access to Court Review

The American Immigration Council applauds today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision ensuring that immigrants facing deportation have fair process in the review of their cases. The Court ruled that individuals who seek to reopen their deportation orders have the right to appeal to the federal courts if the immigration court refuses to hear the appeal. The Court’s decision protects immigrants’ access to federal court review and affirms the role of the courts in our system of checks and balances on government power.

The case, Kucana v. Holder, was brought by an asylum seeker who filed a motion to reopen his removal proceedings because of changed circumstances in his request for asylum. A motion to reopen is a procedural mechanism that allows individuals to present new evidence to an immigration judge. “The Supreme Court’s decision reaffirms that immigrants are entitled to fair process” said Beth Werlin, Attorney at the American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center. “Given the stakes involved in immigration cases, federal court review is an important check on the executive branch and is a necessary layer of protection for individuals who are facing removal from the United States.”

Read more about the Supreme Court’s decision at the Legal Action Center’s Supreme Court Update webpage.