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INS v. St. Cyr

Supreme Court of the United States

April 24, 2001, Argued ; June 25, 2001, Decided

No. 00-767


 [***357]  [**2275]  [*292]    JUSTICE STEVENS delivered the opinion of the Court.

 Both the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), enacted on April 24, 1996, 110 Stat. 1214, and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA), enacted on September 30, 1996, 110 Stat. 3009-546, contain comprehensive amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 66 Stat. 163, as amended, 8 U.S.C. § 1101 et seq. This case raises two important questions about the impact of those amendments. The first question is a procedural one, concerning the effect of those amendments on the availability of habeas corpus jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. [****9]  The second question is a substantive one, concerning the impact of the amendments on conduct that occurred before  [*293]  their enactment and on the availability of discretionary relief from deportation.

Respondent, Enrico St. Cyr, is a citizen of Haiti who was admitted to the United States as a lawful permanent resident in 1986. Ten years later, on March 8, 1996, he pled guilty in a state court to a charge of selling a controlled substance in violation of Connecticut law. That conviction made him deportable. Under pre-AEDPA law applicable at the time of his conviction, St. Cyr would have been eligible for a waiver of deportation at the discretion of the Attorney General. However, removal proceedings against him were not commenced until April 10, 1997, after both AEDPA and IIRIRA became effective, and, as the Attorney General interprets those statutes, he no longer has discretion to grant such a waiver.

In his habeas corpus petition, respondent has alleged that the restrictions on discretionary relief from deportation contained in the 1996 statutes do not apply to removal proceedings brought against an alien who pled guilty to a deportable crime before their enactment. The District Court [****10]  accepted jurisdiction of his application and agreed with his submission. In accord with the decisions of four other Circuits, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed. 1 229 F.3d 406 (2000). The importance of both questions warranted our grant of certiorari. 531 U.S. 1107 (2001).

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533 U.S. 289 *; 121 S. Ct. 2271 **; 150 L. Ed. 2d 347 ***; 2001 U.S. LEXIS 4670 ****; 69 U.S.L.W. 4510; 2001 Cal. Daily Op. Service 5235; 2001 Daily Journal DAR 6475; 2001 Colo. J. C.A.R. 3473; 14 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 401



Disposition: 229 F.3d 406, affirmed.


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