The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against an illegal immigrant seeking relief against a deportation order on Monday, according to Fox News — but not without a key defection from the conservative side.
According to Fox News, the court voted to uphold a federal appellate court ruling which held that Pankajkumar Patel, who entered the country illegally with his wife in the 1990s, could be deported by the Department of Homeland Security.
However, conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch joined with the court’s three liberal justices and wrote the dissent, in which he said the ruling held “dire consequences for countless lawful immigrants.”
Patel’s saga began when he applied to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for a discretionary adjustment of status for him and his wife in 2007.
This would have allowed the couple to get green cards.
However, USCIS denied the application based on the fact Patel misrepresented himself as a citizen on a driver’s license application in Georgia.
Some time later, DHS moved to deport the couple, which led him to apply for an adjustment of status a second time.
Patel told a federal immigration judge he accidentally checked the box which said “citizen” on the driver’s license application.
His case was initially dismissed by the Board of Immigration Appeals. When Patel and his lawyers took the case to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, they ruled they didn’t have jurisdiction in the case.
Patel petitioned the Supreme Court to hear his case in January of 2021 and the court heard the case in December.
In the 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court agreed with the appeals court, ruling they didn’t have jurisdiction to prevent Patel’s deportation.
“Federal courts have a very limited role to play in this process,” Justice Amy Coney Barrett wrote in the majority opinion.
“With an exception for legal and constitutional questions, Congress has barred judicial review of the Attorney General’s decisions denying discretionary relief from removal.”
However, Gorsuch joined Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor in dissenting from the majority. In his dissent, he argued the hands-off approach to immigration decisions had dangerous consequences.
“As a result, no court may correct even the agency’s most egregious factual mistakes about an individual’s statutory eligibility for relief,” Gorsuch’s dissent read.
“It is a bold claim promising dire consequences for countless lawful immigrants.”