How Will Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh Approach Immigration Cases?
Controversy-racked Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh is now officially sitting on the country’s highest court. Many immigration advocates–and immigrant families– are wondering how his presence might affect the immigration cases currently pending before the Court. His past approach to immigration cases may provide a clue.
According to USAToday.com,Justice Kavanaugh has scant experience when it comes to immigration, and those cases he’s presided over involved very diverse, specific issues. However, some immigration advocates say his position on these few cases suggest that he’s unlikely to take a stance that’s helpful to immigrants.
During his confirmation process, Kavanaugh promised to interpret the letter of the law very narrowly. In the context of immigration, he demonstrated this in a 2016 case where U.S. workers argued that they were unfairly competing with foreign workers who entered the country on F-1 student visas but were allowed to work in the U.S. after graduation. During oral arguments, Kavanaugh pointed out: “The word in the statue is ‘student’…To call people who are working full-time jobs students… makes hash of the language.”
But in a different case involving immigration, Kavanaugh did not interpret the law so strictly. In a 2014 case, Fogo de Chao Holdings Inc. v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, he dissented when the majority of the D.C. Circuit ruled that U.S. law allows a foreign worker who has specialized knowledge of a particular industry to work in the U.S.
In his dissent, Kavanaugh appeared to disregard the language of the law when he argued that an American could be trained to learn the job of the foreign worker. In this case, the foreign worker was a Brazilian chef seeking employment in a Brazilian-themed restaurant.
Upcoming Immigration Issues
Justice Kavanaugh’s approach to immigration law has some advocates worried. Many important immigration issues will be going before the court in the near future, such as the challenge to President Trump’s decision to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which has allowed hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who brought to the country as children to legally remain and work in the United States.There may also be a challenge to a federal judge’s ruling that blocked the Trump administration from terminating most of the Temporary Protected Status program, which allowed more than 300,000 foreigners to legally live and work in the United States as their home nations recover from war, natural disasters or other conflicts.
Justice Kavanaugh’s First Immigration Case
On October 10, 2018, Justice Kavanaugh faced his first immigration issue on the Supreme Court bench in the case Nielsen v. Preap. This case questions whether the government is legally allowed to detain immigrants who committed crimes in the U.S. without bond as they await their deportation hearings, even if the crimes were committed years ago.
During the hearings, Justice Kavanaugh’s comments suggested he was likely to strictly interpret the law, which would allow federal authorities to detain immigrants who had committed crimes, no matter how minor the crimes or how many years ago it was committed. As reported by the New York Times, Kavanaugh said that the 1996 federal law requiring detention years put no time limit on the detention.
“That raises a real question for me whether we should be superimposing a time limit into the statute when Congress, at least as I read it, did not itself do so,” he said.
The experienced immigration attorneys at Zanes Law will be watching this case and other immigration cases before the Court closely. We are committed to helping immigrant families protect their status and right to stay in the United States. If you are in need of immigration help, please contactus or call us at 844-666-8181for a private consultation today.