502 U.S. 183 (1991), 90-1090, Immigration and Naturalization Serv ice v. National Center for Immigrants' Rights

Docket Nº:No. 90-1090
Citation:502 U.S. 183, 112 S.Ct. 551, 116 L.Ed.2d 546, 60 U.S.L.W. 4052
Party Name:Immigration and Naturalization Serv ice v. National Center for Immigrants' Rights
Case Date:December 16, 1991
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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Page 183

502 U.S. 183 (1991)

112 S.Ct. 551, 116 L.Ed.2d 546, 60 U.S.L.W. 4052

Immigration and Naturalization Serv ice

v.

National Center for Immigrants' Rights

No. 90-1090

United States Supreme Court

Dec. 16, 1991

Argued Nov. 13, 1991

CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS

FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT

Syllabus

Section 242(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) authorizes the Attorney General to arrest excludable aliens and, pending a determination of their deportability, either to hold them in custody or to release them on bond containing conditions prescribed by the Attorney General. Respondent individuals and organizations filed suit in the District Court against petitioners, alleging that 8 CFR § 103.6(a)(2)(ii) -- which is entitled "Condition against unauthorized employment" and generally requires that release bonds contain a "condition barring employment" pending a deportability determination -- was invalid on its face, and therefore could not be enforced even against aliens who may not lawfully accept employment in this country. Ultimately, the District Court held that the regulation was beyond the Attorney General's statutory authority. The Court of Appeals affirmed, ruling that the regulation barred all employment, whether authorized or unauthorized, and that the Attorney General exceeded his authority in promulgating it because the no-employment condition was not related to the purposes of the INA and the regulation did not provide for "individualized decisions" on the imposition of bond conditions as required by the statute.

Held: The regulation, on its face, is consistent with the Attorney General's statutory authority. Pp. 188-196.

(a) No "as-applied" challenges to the regulation, nor any constitutional claims raised by respondents' initial complaint, are before this Court. Pp. 188.

(b) The regulation does not contemplate the inclusion of no-work conditions in bonds issued to aliens who are authorized to work. Reading the text's generic reference to "employment" as a reference to the "unauthorized employment" identified in the paragraph's title helps to resolve any ambiguity in the text's language. See, e.g., Mead Corp. v. Tilley, 490 U.S. 714, 723. Moreover, the agency's consistent interpretation of the regulation as applying only to unauthorized employment is due deference. This conclusion is further supported by the regulation's text, the agency's comments when the rule was promulgated, operating

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instructions issued to Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) personnel, and the absence of any evidence that INS has ever imposed the condition on any alien authorized to work. Pp. 189-191.

(c) The regulation is wholly consistent with the established concern of immigration law to preserve jobs for American workers, and thus is squarely within the scope of the Attorney General's statutory authority. United States v. Witkovich, 353 U.S. 194; Carlson v. Landon, 342 U.S. 524, distinguished. Pp. 191-194.

(d) The regulation, when properly construed, and when viewed in the context of INS' administrative procedures -- an initial informal determination regarding an alien's status, the right to seek discretionary relief from the INS and secure temporary authorization, and the right to seek prompt administrative and judicial review of bond conditions -- provides the individualized determinations contemplated in the statute. Pp. 194-196.

913 F.2d 1350 (CA9 1990), reversed and remanded.

STEVENS, J., delivered thwe opinion for a unanimous Court.

STEVENS, J., lead opinion

JUSTICE STEVENS delivered the opinion of the Court.

This case presents a narrow question of statutory construction. Section 242(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) authorizes the Attorney General to arrest excludable aliens and, pending a determination of their deportability, either to hold them in custody or to release them on bond "containing such conditions as the Attorney General may prescribe." 66 Stat. 208, as amended, 8 U.S.C.

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§ 1252(a)(1). We granted the Government's petition for certiorari to decide

[w]hether th[at] provision prohibits promulgation of a rule generally requiring that release bonds contain a condition forbidding unauthorized employment pending determination of deportability.

Pet. for Cert. I.

I

Prior to 1983, the regulations of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) provided that, when an alien was released from custody pending deportation or exclusion proceedings, the INS could, in its discretion, include in the bond obtained to secure the alien's release a condition barring unauthorized employment. 8 CFR § 103.6(a)(2)(ii) (1982). In 1983, the Attorney General amended those regulations to include the following provision:

(ii) Condition against unauthorized employment. A condition barring employment shall be included in an appearance and delivery bond in connection with a deportation proceeding or bond posted for the release of an alien in exclusion proceedings, unless the District Director determines that employment is appropriate.

8 CFR § 103.6(a)(2)(ii) (1991).[1]

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In effect, the new regulation made "no-employment conditions" the rule, rather than the exception.

Several individuals and organizations (respondents) filed this action challenging the validity of the new rule on statutory and constitutional grounds. Their complaint alleged that the new rule was invalid on its face, and therefore could not be enforced even against aliens who may not lawfully accept employment in this country.

After finding that the plaintiffs had a fair chance of success on the merits, either on the ground that the statute did not authorize no-employment conditions because such conditions were irrelevant to securing an alien's appearance at a subsequent deportation hearing, or on the ground that the regulation violated an alien's constitutional right to due process, the District Court entered a nationwide preliminary injunction against enforcement of the rule. The Court of Appeals affirmed in part, but held that the scope of the injunction should be limited to the named plaintiffs unless the District Court granted their motion to certify a class. National Center for Immigrants' Rights, Inc. v. INS, 743 F.2d 1365 (CA9 1984).

On remand, the District Court entered summary judgment in favor of respondents on the ground that the regulation was beyond the statutory authority of the Attorney General, 644 F.Supp. 5 (CD Cal.1985), and also certified a class consisting of "all those persons who have been or may in the future be denied the right to work pursuant to 8 CFR § 103.6." National Center for Immigration Rights, Inc. v. INS, No. CV 83-7927-KN (CD Cal., July 9, 1985), p. 1. The Court of Appeals again affirmed, concluding that the Attorney General's statutory

authority under 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a) of the Act is limited to the imposition of bond conditions which tend to insure the alien's appearance at future deportation proceedings. The peripheral concern of the Act with the employment of illegal aliens is not sufficient to support the imposition of a no-employment condition

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in every bond.

National Center for Immigrants' Rights, Inc. v. INS, 791 F.2d 1351, 1356 (CA9 1986).

The Government petitioned for certiorari raising the same question that is now...

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