Supreme Court rules in favor of immigrants in two cases – Washington Examiner

The Supreme Court handed down two separate opinions that were favorable to immigrants on Tuesday.

Justice Neil Gorsuch delivered the first ruling in FBI v. Fikre, a unanimous decision for a U.S. citizen and Sudanese immigrant who sought to continue his suit against the FBI for placing him on a no-fly list even though his name was removed since he filed the lawsuit.

FBI must face Sudanese immigrant’s lawsuit

The high court held that the government failed to demonstrate that Yonas Fikre’s case was moot, meaning it can now proceed in lower courts. The FBI had argued that because Fikre has not been on the no-fly list for eight years, his allegations of repetitional harm and due process violations were moot.

“A court with jurisdiction has a ‘virtually unflagging obligation’ to hear and resolve questions properly before it,” according to the majority opinion.

Fikre learned he was on the list in 2010 while traveling to Sudan when he was approached by FBI agents who tried to recruit him as a government informant. Fikre has said he refused the offer.

Thomas Berry, a research fellow for the Cato Institute, said the high court “treated the government just like any other defendant, applying the same standard for mooting cases against the government as for cases against any other defendant.

“The Court thus implicitly rejected the government’s argument that it should be given a special ‘presumption of regularity’ not afforded to other parties,” Berry said.

Court widens judicial review for deportation cases

Also on Tuesday, Justice Sonia Sotomayor authored a 6-3 decision that held the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit erred in holding it lacked jurisdiction to review an immigration judge’s determination, prompting a rebuke from three Republican-appointed justices on the bench, including Chief Justice John Roberts, along with Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas.

The ruling effectively allows plaintiff Situ Wilkinson, originally from Trinidad and Tobago, to have a second chance to convince a court that his son, a U.S. citizen, would experience “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship” if Wilkinson is deported. Wilkinson overstayed his tourist visa and has been living in the United States without authorization since around 2003.


“The question in this case is whether the [immigration judge’s] hardship determination is reviewable under §1252(a)(2)D). which gives Courts of Appeals jurisdiction to review ‘questions of law,’” Sotomayor wrote. “This Court holds that it is.”

The 3rd Circuit previously held that it lacked jurisdiction based on a subsection of the federal code that makes unreviewable any “judgment[s] regarding the granting of [discretionary] relief.”