Native of India, Pankajkumar Patel made his way to the United States in the 90’s, but he did so “without inspection.” That’s a fancy term for he was here illegally. In 2012, that shit caught up with him, and was charged by the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) to be removed from the United States, because he had in fact, come to the US illegally.
In the United States, we have an “Adjustment of status” proceeding, which basically is a way for non-citizens, here illegally, to be made legal, without being forced to leave the country and go through the process of obtaining their visa like every other legal immigrant. It is a two-step process where first, they must show eligibility, and then they qualify “in the exercise of discretion.” Which as I read it, basically means, you not only have to prove you’re eligible, but you also have to show there’s a good reason, in the eyes of the United States (in their discretion), you should be allowed to stay. But feel free to click the link and see if you read that differently.
Patel had been working the whole time, and thus, was a productive person here. He claimed this should justify him being allowed to stay. But , Patel made a serious fuck up. He applied for a driver’s license in Georgia, and on the application, he checked the box indicating he was a citizen. He argues it was a mistake, but it is suspicious that maybe he did so, in order to get that shit approved.
This false information led DHS to argue he’s a liar liar, and his pants are on fire, and order her get the fuck out.
So Patel’s case lands in front of an immigration judge, who is more impressed with DHS’s argument than he was Patel’s, and was like, “Sorry bro, you gotta go. We’re not in the business of letting bullshit artists to hand around.”
Patel, not so quick to give up, because it’s pretty fucking great here in the US compared to India, filed for appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). They were however, just as unimpressed as the Immigration Judge, and told him to kick rocks.
Congress passed laws barring federal courts from reviewing these discretionary decisions. So Patel, not being happy about those decisions from the Immigration Judge and the BIA, took his case to the 11th circuit. But the law mentioned above, basically argues the 11th circuit has no business getting involved in this shit. It’s a matter for DHS and Immigration, not the courts, and told him to politely fuck off.
So the question before SCOTUS, is does Patel have the right to ask the federal court to step in and smack down the BIA and Immigration Judge, if they agree with Patel?
In a 5:4 decision, written by Justice Barrett, and joined by Roberts, Thomas, Alito, and Kavanaugh, Scotus sided with Merrick Garland, essentially putting the nail in Patel’s coffin. The text of the law was clear in their opinion, that federal courts don’t get to weigh in on such immigration matters.
Justice Gorsuch, with the Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan dissented, basically saying that the law as written gives way too much power to DHS and Immigration, and that’s straight up bullshit.
Read about the case and hear oral argument at the links below.