Immigration Law

Opinion analysis: Court rejects retroactive application of 1996 immigration law amendment

"Just as I predicted after the oral arguments, the Court found for Vartelas in a narrowly drawn opinion that focused on the issue of the retroactivity of the 1996 amendments to the immigration laws.   The Court did not address whether Immigration and Nationality Act § 101(a)(13)(C)(v) overruled its 1963 decision in Rosenberg v. Fleuti, in which it held that an “innocent, casual, and brief” trip from the country did not subject the returning lawful permanent resident to treatment as seeking admission.  Nor did the Court address more broadly the constitutional rights of lawful permanent residents. ... As this analysis suggests, the Court’s decision in Vartelas v. Holder is not likely to have a broad impact.  It will ensure that brief foreign trips are possible for lawful permanent residents with criminal convictions entered before 1996.  There is little in Vartelas that suggests that it would have much of an impact beyond the case at hand in terms of immigration law, statutory interpretation, or administrative law." - Dean Kevin Johnson, Apr. 2, 2012.