Earlier this week the U.S. Supreme Court dealt a blow to immigrants trying to meet residency requirements, overturning an appellate court’s ruling that permitted immigrants who entered the country as children could use their parents’ time in the U.S. to meet residency rules. Now, those who are facing deportation cannot utilize that time in their defense of such a serious move.
The ruling is the beginning of a critical two-month stretch for the Supreme Court regarding immigration. They will also deal with Arizona’s controversial SB 1071 law, which requires individuals to carry the necessary paperwork to prove their citizenship status.
U.S. immigration law says that those facing deportation can seek leniency if they have been lawful permanent residents in the country for at least five years while also continuously living in the country for at least seven years.
Two cases highlight the Supreme Court’s ruling. In one, a young man was arrested for trafficking illegal immigrants in 2005, two years after he became a lawful permanent resident. Deportation proceedings began and he said his father’s time in the U.S. should make him eligible for leniency during the proceedings.
In another case, a young man was arrested in two separate drug-related incidents after becoming a lawful permanent resident. He also faced deportation and sued the same defense to try and meet leniency requirements.
In both cases, the defendants were denied that accrued family time — and given their criminal records (a point of emphasis for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement when enter deportation proceedings) it is not surprising. But what about those young people who have no criminal record and had no real choice when they were brought into the U.S.? This ruling hampers their ability to establish residency.
Source: Reuters, “Supreme court rules for government on immigrants’ residence,” James Vicini, May 21, 2012