Supreme Court Bars Class-Wide Immigration Challenges
The Supreme court ruled in June that individuals not in class-action suits must now bring challenges to immigration policy.
In the 6-3 holding, the Supreme Court concluded that under a 1996 statute, lower federal courts couldn’t grant injunctive relief to entire classes of immigrants, which would bar immigration officials from carrying out specific policies.
Essentially, the Supreme Court ruled the lower court overstepped its authority in Garland v. Gonzalez, which was brought by migrants who filed a class action lawsuit targeting the government’s practice of detaining certain immigrants for more than six months.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a partial dissent, “I respectfully dissent from the Court’s blinkered analysis, which will leave many vulnerable noncitizens unable to protect their rights,”
What Are The Benefits Of Class-Wide Immigration Challenges?
Class-action lawsuits have the benefit of representing many people at once, so the court doesn’t have to hear multiple very similar cases. It also allows more people to benefit from it without having to sign on to the class, but not necessarily be the face of the case.
It also allows people who can’t afford legal aid to join the class-wide suit without financing it themselves.
Why Is Barring Class-Wide Immigration Challenges Bad For Immigrants?
Sotomayor wrote in her dissent about the difficulties immigrants face navigating the “nation’s labyrinthine immigration laws” and the “particularly daunting hurdles” migrants face once they’re detained. Class-wide suits could help immigrants navigate these challenges more manageable.
“It is one matter to expect noncitizens facing these obstacles to defend against their removal in immigration court. It is another entirely to place upon each of them the added burden of contesting systemic violations of their rights through the discrete, collateral, federal-court proceeding,” Sotomayor wrote.
“In many cases, the inevitable consequence of barring class-wide injunctive relief will be that those violations will go unremedied, except for the few fortunate enough to afford competent collateral counsel or to secure vigorous pro bono representation.”
What Should I Do If I Think I’m Facing An Injustice Within The Immigration System?
If you’re an immigrant to the United States and facing challenges within the system or changing your status, contact Fay, Grafton & Nunez immediately.
We offer $200 consultations to immigration clients to help you understand your case better and jump-start your legal strategy.
Our team of immigration attorneys can help you navigate the complex and ever-changing United States immigration laws.