US Supreme Court holds federal courts lack jurisdiction to review factual determinations for ‘adjustment of status’
StockSnap / Pixabay
US Supreme Court holds federal courts lack jurisdiction to review factual determinations for ‘adjustment of status’

The US Supreme Court Monday held in a 5-4 opinion written by Justice Amy Coney Barrett “[f]ederal courts lack jurisdiction to review facts found as part of any judgment relating to the granting of discretionary relief in immigration proceedings enumerated under 8 US Code § 1252(a)(2)(B)(i).”

In Patel v. Garland, the plaintiff and his wife entered the US illegally in the 1990s. In 2007, they applied to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for discretionary adjustment of status under 8 US Code § 1255, which would have made them lawful permanent residents. However, since USCIS was aware the plaintiff had previously falsely stated on a driver’s license application he was a US citizen, it denied his USCIS application on the grounds he was not “statutorily admissible for permanent residence.”

After a few years, when the US initiated removal proceedings against the plaintiff and his wife, he attempted to renew his adjustment of status request. Status adjustment can prevent deportation “of an eligible noncitizen”, forgiving their illegal entry into the US and changing their status to that of a “lawful permanent resident”. His application was denied; the Board of Immigration Appeals then dismissed his appeal. The Eleventh Circuit reviewed his case but found it lacked jurisdiction.

8 US Code § 1252 pertains to judicial review of orders of removal. 8 US Code § 1252(a)(2)(B)(i) addresses denials of discretionary relief. Based on this decision, federal courts lack jurisdiction to review certain executive factual determinations to determine whether noncitizens are eligible for adjustment of status. The court drew its conclusion from the plain meaning of the statute, which states “no court shall have jurisdiction to review … any judgment regarding the granting of relief under section 1182(h), 1182(i), 1229b, 1229c, or 1255 of this title.” Since “the statute is clear”, the court found it had “no reason to resort to the presumption of reviewability” and affirmed the Court of Appeals’ opinion.