Immigration Law

Supreme Court in Judulang Axes Comparable-Grounds Condition for 212(c) Relief

The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously rejected the comparable-grounds approach to determining whether a noncitizen convicted of a crime and facing deportation or removal can obtain relief under former Immigration and Nationality Act § 212(c). What do applicants do now? 


Cesar Cuauhtemoc Garcia Hernandez is an assistant professor at Capital University Law School, writes the blog about the convergence of criminal law and immigration law, and is of counsel at Garcia & Garcia Attorneys at Law, P.L.L.C. The author explains this decision, Judulang v. Holder, issued Dec. 12, 2011 [enhanced version available to subscribers].

The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that the comparable-grounds rule used by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) to determine whether a deportable individual could seek relief from removal under former § 212(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) was arbitrary and capricious. The Court's decision, Judulang v. Holder, comes after multiple attempts to solidify the comparable-grounds rule through regulations and precedential BIA decisions. Those efforts proved insufficient to withstand the Court's scrutiny. Immigration attorneys and judges must now grapple with § 212(c) without searching for a comparable basis of removal in the grounds of deportation and inadmissibility.

This Emerging Issues Analysis sets out the legal milieu from which Judulang arose, analyzes critical aspects of the Court's decision, and identifies key changes to § 212(c) relief that practitioners should contemplate.

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