Oral Argument Recapitulation: Mayorkas v. Cuellar de Osorio

Oral Argument Recapitulation: Mayorkas v. Cuellar de Osorio

"[T]he Court heard oral arguments in Mayorkas v. Cuellar de Osorio, a case raising a technical issue of statutory construction of the complex U.S. immigration laws.

The specific question presented by the case is whether a provision of the Immigration & Nationality Act, as amended by the Child Status Protection Act (2002), allows children of all family immigrant visa applicants (or only for some family immigrant visas) who turn twenty-one (“age out”) while waiting for a visa, to be issued a visa with their parent when the visas are issued.  8 U.S.C. § 1153(h)(3) provides that, for an “aged out” child, “the alien’s petition shall automatically be converted to the appropriate category and the alien shall retain the original priority date issued upon receipt of the original petition.”  The Board of Immigration Appeals has interpreted the statute to cover only certain, rather than all, family immigrant visas.

Assistant to the Solicitor General Elaine Goldenberg argued the case for the United States.  Mark Fleming of WilmerHale argued the case on behalf of the respondents.

Much of the Justices’ questioning of both advocates focused on the precise meaning of the statutory language, especially the phrase “automatically . . . converted.”  There also was some back and forth about the propriety of deference to the relevant Board of Immigration Appeals ruling, Matter of Wang (2009)." - Kevin Johnson, Dec. 11, 2013.