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Pankajkumar Patel, who entered the U.S. illegally from India with his wife Jyotsnaben three decades ago, according to court documents, applied for discretionary adjustment of status with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency in 2007.
The adjustment, which would have given Patel and his wife green cards, was denied by the agency after it found he previously intentionally misrepresented his citizenship on a Georgia driver’s license application.
Years later, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) endeavored to deport Patel and his wife, prompting him to apply for an adjustment again. He argued before a federal immigration judge that he mistakenly ticked “citizen” off on the Georgia driver’s license application, but the judge ordered him removed anyway.
The Board of Immigration Appeals dismissed his case upon appeal, which led Patel to seek review from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled it did not have jurisdiction in the case.
After he petitioned them last January, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in December until agreeing with the lower court Monday.
Justice Amy Coney Barrett wrote the majority opinion, arguing, “Federal courts have a very limited role to play in this process. With an exception for legal and constitutional questions, Congress has barred judicial review of the Attorney General’s decisions denying discretionary relief from removal.”
Justice Neil Gorsuch joined the three liberal-leaning justices in dissent, writing, “As a result, no court may correct even the agency’s most egregious factual mistakes about an individual’s statutory eligibility for relief.”
“It is a bold claim promising dire consequences for countless lawful immigrants,” Gorsuch also warned.