Tags: Immigration | Supreme Court | Trump Administration | deportation | torture

Supreme Court: Immigrants Who Fear Torture Can Appeal Deportations

justice brett kavanaugh is shown in his black robe
Justice Brett Kavanaugh penned a 13-page opinion for the majority, which dismissed the government's arguments that the law passed by Congress that implements CAT protections prevent people scheduled for deportation from going to court. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

By    |   Monday, 01 June 2020 12:19 PM

Immigrants facing deportation can now appeal the ruling to send them back to their home country if they are in fear of being tortured upon their return, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday.

In a 7-2 decision, the ruling will permit immigrants, who have been convicted of a crime and face deportation, to go before a federal appeals court to challenge the deportation order if they are at risk of being tortured when they are sent back to their home country, The Hill reports.

The ruling rejects the Trump administration’s suggestion that people facing deportation have no right to judicial review if their request for help under the international Convention Against Torture (CAT) is denied.

Now, immigrants will be able to make challenges to the court decision even if the Department of Justice's Board of Immigration Appeals decides that they do not qualify for deportation protection under CAT.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh penned a 13-page opinion for the majority, which dismissed the government's arguments that the law passed by Congress that implements CAT protections prevent people scheduled for deportation from going to court.

"It would be easy enough for Congress to preclude judicial review of factual challenges to CAT orders, just as Congress has precluded judicial review of factual challenges to certain final orders of removal," Kavanaugh wrote. "But Congress has not done so, and it is not the proper role of the courts to rewrite the laws passed by Congress and signed by the President."

The challenge was brought to the Supreme Court by Nidal Klalid Nasrallah, a legal permanent resident who came to the U.S. in 2006. The government flagged Nasrallah for deportation after he was convicted of buying stolen cigarettes from undercover federal agents and was sentenced to a year in prison.

An immigration judge ruled that Nasrallah qualified for a deportation deferral because he's a member of the Druze religious minority in Lebanon, which has been persecuted from the militant political group Hezbollah.

But the Board of Immigration Appeals reversed the order, arguing that Nasrallah had not adequately made the case that he was at risk of being tortured if he were sent back to Lebanon. Nasrallah appealed that decision to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that it did not have jurisdiction over the case.

Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito cast the dissenting votes. Thomas wrote a dissenting opinion that the majority is undermining Congress' efforts to keep a majority of immigration claims out of federal court.

"As has been the case for decades now, the decisions of this Court continue to systematically chip away at this statute and other jurisdictional limitations on immigration claims, thus thwarting Congress’ intent," Thomas wrote.

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Immigrants facing deportation can now appeal the ruling to send them back to their home country if they are in fear of being tortured upon their return, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday.
deportation, torture
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2020-19-01
Monday, 01 June 2020 12:19 PM
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