Judge Blasts Solicitor General for Misleading Supreme Court on Improperly Deported Immigrants
Friday, February 10, 2012
Federal Judge Jed Rakoff has taken the Office of the Solicitor General to task for misleading the U.S. Supreme Court about recourse for wrongly deported immigrants.
“When the Solicitor General of the United States makes a representation to the Supreme Court, trustworthiness is presumed,” wrote Rakoff. “Here, however, plaintiffs seek to determine whether one such representation was accurate or whether, as it seems, the Government’s lawyers were engaged in a bit of a shuffle.”
In 2009, the solicitor general’s office wrote in a Supreme Court brief that by “policy and practice, the government accords aliens who were removed pending judicial review but then prevailed before the courts effective relief by, inter alia, facilitating the aliens' return to the United States by parole under § U.S.C. 1182(d) (5) if necessary, and according them the status they had at the time of removal.”
Supreme Court justices reportedly relied on this assurance of effective relief from the solicitor general, while ruling in Nken v. Holderthat deportation did not cause “irreparable injury.”
Later that year, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild and other civil libertarians challenged whether the government really made it easy for deported aliens to return after they had won their case and filed a Freedom of Information Act request for documents related to the case When the solicitor general’s office produced a largely redacted four-page chain of emails between the attorneys who argued before the Supreme Court in Nken and other government officials, the groups sued the federal government to have the redactions removed, which prompted the decision from Rakoff, who gave the government until February 13 to disclose the censored parts of the emails.
To Learn More:
Solicitor General May Have Misled on Immigration (by Adam Klasfeld, Courthouse News)
National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild et al. v. Department of Homeland Security (U.S. District Court, Southern New York) (pdf)
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