Because special immigrant juvenile (SIJ) status reflects alien children's significant ties to this country and Congress's determination that such aliens should be accorded important statutory and procedural protections, SIJ designees are entitled to invoke the Suspension Clause and petition the federal courts for a writ of habeas corpus. The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit further concludes that because the expedited removal regime does not provide an adequate substitute process, the Immigration and Nationality Act's jurisdiction-stripping provisions effect an unconstitutional suspension of the writ as applied to SIJ designees.
The eight Petitioners—Wendy Amparo Osorio-Martinez and her three-year-old child D.S. R.-O., Carmen Aleyda Lobo Mejia and her four-year-old child A.D. M.-L., Maria Delmi Martinez Nolasco and her seven-year-old child J.E. L.-M., and Jethzabel Maritza Aguilar Mancia and her sixteen-year-old child V.G. R.-A.—fled physical and sexual violence perpetrated by gangs in their home countries of Honduras and El Salvador. In September and October of 2015, each family crossed into the United States from Mexico and was apprehended by Customs and Border Patrol within four miles of the border almost immediately thereafter. They were initially detained in Texas and later moved to a detention center in Leesport, Pennsylvania. After immigration officers determined that Petitioners were inadmissible, they were each ordered expeditiously removed under 8 U.S.C. § 1225(b)(1). In late 2015, all eight Petitioners, along with twenty-five additional families being held at the detention center, sought habeas relief in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, challenging their final expedited removal orders and the procedures underlying those orders. The District Court dismissed their claims, and the Court of Appeals upheld the decision due to lack of jurisdiction under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Two years after their initial detention, the petitioners again challenged their expedited orders for removal. The petitioner children now have been accorded Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) status—a protective classification designed by Congress to safeguard abused, abandoned, or neglected alien children who are able to meet its rigorous eligibility requirements. The protections afforded to children with SIJ status include an array of statutory and regulatory rights and safeguards, such as eligibility for application of adjustment of status to that of lawful permanent residents (LPR), exemption from various grounds of inadmissibility, and robust procedural protections to ensure their status is not revoked without good cause.
Does the jurisdiction-stripping provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act operate as an unconstitutional suspension of the writ of habeas corpus as applied to Special Immigrant Juvenile designees seeking judicial review of orders of expedited removal?
The Court held that the jurisdiction-stripping provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act operated as an unconstitutional suspension of the writ of habeas corpus as applied to special immigrant juvenile (SIJ) designees seeking judicial review of orders of expedited removal where, by virtue of satisfying the eligibility criteria for SIJ status and being accorded by Congress the statutory and due process rights that derived from it, SIJ designees met that standard and therefore were allowed enforce their rights under the Suspension Clause.