Sandoval v. Reno, Nos. 98-1099

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
Writing for the CourtSLOVITER; ALITO
Citation166 F.3d 225
PartiesReynaldo SANDOVAL, Petitioner/Appellee, v. Janet RENO, Attorney General; Doris Meissner, Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service; Immigration and Naturalization Service; Department of Justice; and J. Scott Blackman, Acting District Director of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Respondents/Appellants. Reynaldo Sandoval, Petitioner, v. Immigration & Naturalization Service, Respondent. * and 98-3214.
Decision Date26 January 1999
Docket NumberNos. 98-1099,98-1547

Page 225

166 F.3d 225
Reynaldo SANDOVAL, Petitioner/Appellee,
v.
Janet RENO, Attorney General; Doris Meissner, Commissioner
of the Immigration and Naturalization Service; Immigration
and Naturalization Service; Department of Justice; and J.
Scott Blackman, Acting District Director of the Immigration
and Naturalization Service, Respondents/Appellants.
Reynaldo Sandoval, Petitioner,
v.
Immigration & Naturalization Service, Respondent.
Nos. 98-1099, 98-1547 * and 98-3214.
United States Court of Appeals,
Third Circuit.
Argued Sept. 28, 1998.
Decided Jan. 26, 1999.

Page 227

Frank W. Hunger, Assistant Attorney General, Christopher C. Fuller, Senior Litigation Counsel, Michael P. Lindemann, Assistant Director, Madeline Henley (Argued), United States Department of Justice, Washington, D.C., for Respondents/Appellants.

Lee Gelernt (Argued), Lucas Guttentag, Cecillia Wang, American Civil Liberties Union, Immigrants' Rights Project, New York, N.Y., Steven A. Morley (Argued), Bagia & Morley, Philadelphia, PA, for Appellee/Petitioner.

Lenni B. Benson, New York Law School, New York, N.Y., Jeffrey A. Heller, Seton Hall University School of Law, Newark, N.J., for Amici Law Professors.

Before: SLOVITER, SCIRICA and ALITO, Circuit Judges.

OPINION OF THE COURT

SLOVITER, Circuit Judge.

I.

INTRODUCTION

In 1996, the 104th Congress passed, and the President signed into law, two bills that made sweeping changes in the immigration laws: the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"), Pub.L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214 (1996), and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 ("IIRIRA"), Pub.L. No. 104-208, 110 Stat. 3009 (1996). This case concerns the effect of these statutes on the jurisdiction of a district court to issue a writ of habeas corpus sought by an alien because of a decision by the Immigration and Naturalization Service ("INS") to deport the alien by reason of his having committed a criminal act listed in IIRIRA.

In the case before us, the District Court granted in part Reynaldo Sandoval's petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The Attorney General, the INS, the INS Commissioner, and the Acting Regional Director of the INS (collectively "the government") appeal from the District Court's exercise of jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 and from its subsequent decision on the merits. Sandoval's brief as appellee is supported by an amicus brief filed by a group of twenty-three law professors urging affirmance of the District Court.

The jurisdictional question is whether, in enacting AEDPA and IIRIRA, Congress stripped the district courts of habeas jurisdiction over deportation proceedings, an inquiry that could implicate the Suspension Clause of the Constitution. If the District Court had jurisdiction, we will have to decide a question of statutory interpretation: whether AEDPA § 440(d), a statutory change that occurred while Sandoval's case was pending and that makes aliens who have been found guilty of drug offenses ineligible for discretionary relief under § 212(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act ("INA"), 8 U.S.C. § 1182 (Supp.1996) (repealed effective April 1, 1997), applies to Sandoval. Only if AEDPA § 440(d) does apply to Sandoval would we need to reach his argument that the provision violates equal protection by precluding deportable aliens who have been convicted of certain crimes from obtaining § 212(c) relief but not precluding excludable aliens who are otherwise identically situated from obtaining that relief, an issue not reached by the District Court.

Page 228

II.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Sandoval, a citizen of Mexico, entered the United States without inspection in 1986. In 1987, he was granted temporary resident status as a Special Agricultural Worker under the amnesty program set up by the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 § 302, 8 U.S.C. § 1160. Pursuant to the amnesty program, he was granted Lawful Permanent Resident status in 1990. Accordingly, Sandoval was entitled to remain in the country, and eventually qualify for citizenship, provided that he did not commit an act subjecting him to deportation. In 1993, Sandoval was convicted in a state court of marijuana possession, which conviction subjected him to deportation under INA § 241(a)(2)(B)(I), 8 U.S.C. § 1251(a)(2)(B)(1) (current version at 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(B)(I)).

The deportation hearing was held on June 14, 1994. Sandoval requested a four-month stay, apparently because at the end of that four months he would have completed seven years as a legal immigrant, a prerequisite for eligibility for discretionary relief under INA § 212(c). Section 212(c), as it stood at the time, granted the Attorney General discretion to admit an otherwise deportable alien if the alien had established lawful domicile for seven or more years; the provision barred such relief where the alien had committed two or more crimes of moral turpitude, but did not then foreclose discretionary relief in cases where the alien was deportable solely for having committed a drug offense. The Immigration Judge ("IJ") denied the stay and ruled that (1) Sandoval was deportable, and (2) he had not met the seven-year lawful domicile requirement for eligibility for discretionary relief. Sandoval then appealed this decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals ("BIA").

While Sandoval's appeal was pending, Congress passed AEDPA. Section 440(d) of that Act amended INA § 212(c) so as to make discretionary relief unavailable to those aliens who have been convicted of, inter alia, any of the drug offenses set forth in INA § 241(a)(2)(B)(I). On July 16, 1997, the BIA dismissed Sandoval's appeal, noting that AEDPA's amendment of § 212(c) rendered Sandoval "statutorily ineligible for section 212(c) relief." In doing so, the BIA cited the Attorney General's ruling that AEDPA's revision of § 212(c) applies to pending cases. See Matter of Soriano, Interim Decision 3289 (A.G. Feb. 21, 1997). The BIA's decision rendered Sandoval's deportation order administratively final on July 16, 1997. Because Sandoval had attained seven years of domicile before his deportation order became final, the statutory residency requirement has been met and is no longer an issue in this case. See 8 C.F.R. § 3.2(c)(1). Consequently, the amendment to § 212(c) effected by AEDPA is the only ground for statutory ineligibility advanced by the government.

In October, Sandoval filed a motion with the BIA, requesting that the INS reopen his case. He also requested a stay of deportation from the District Director, which was denied. On December 1, 1997, Sandoval filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. His petition argued that AEDPA's change to § 212(c) does not apply to cases pending on the date of enactment (and therefore that the Soriano decision was incorrect). He also argued that AEDPA § 440(d) violates equal protection. The government moved to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction.

The District Court ruled that it had habeas jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 2241, reasoning that the relevant provisions of AEDPA and IIRIRA did not effect a repeal of § 2241 in deportation cases. The court proceeded to rule on the merits of the petition and held that AEDPA § 440(d) does not apply to cases that were pending when the statute was enacted. Employing the principles set forth in Landgraf v. USI Film Prods., 511 U.S. 244, 114 S.Ct. 1483, 128 L.Ed.2d 229 (1994), and elaborated in Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320, 117 S.Ct. 2059, 138 L.Ed.2d 481 (1997), the District Court held that Congress expressed its intent not to apply § 440(d) to pending cases. In so doing, the court did not reach any constitutional issue relating to habeas jurisdiction or the equal protection challenge to AEDPA § 440(d). Consequently, the District Court granted Sandoval's petition

Page 229

in part, ordered the INS to entertain the merits of his § 212(c) request and enjoined the government from deporting Sandoval pending a decision on the merits of his § 212(c) request.

The government appeals this decision. While this appeal was pending, the BIA denied Sandoval's motion to reopen, and Sandoval then filed a Petition for Review with this court. On August 19, 1998, we consolidated the government's appeal with Sandoval's Petition for Review.

III.

DISCUSSION

A.

Jurisdiction

1. The Applicable Statutory Changes

On April 24, 1996 the President signed AEDPA into law, and on September 30, 1996 IIRIRA was enacted. These two statutes altered many of the substantive provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and also made significant changes in INA's provisions relating to judicial review. Prior to the enactment of AEDPA, judicial review of deportation orders ordinarily proceeded by a Petition for Review of the INA decision filed in the court of appeals. See Majority op. at 233-34 infra. At the same time, INA § 106(a)(10) provided for review of a deportation order by habeas corpus proceeding. AEDPA § 401(e) deleted the former text of INA § 106(a)(10). AEDPA § 440(a) substituted therefor the following language: "Any final order of deportation against an alien who is deportable by reason of having committed a criminal offense [covered in the deportation provisions of the INA] shall not be subject to review by any court." 1

The judicial review structure for deportation orders was altered several months later with the passage of IIRIRA on September 30, 1996. IIRIRA contains two different sets of rules: the "permanent rules" which generally became effective on April 1, 1997, see IIRIRA § 309(a), and the "transitional changes in judicial review" ("transitional rules"), which generally became effective on October 30, 1996 and which apply to aliens who were placed in removal proceedings before April 1, 1997. 2

One of the transitional rules, IIRIRA § 309(c)(4)(G), provides, in relevant part:

[T]here shall be no...

To continue reading

Request your trial
156 practice notes
  • Facebook, Inc. v. Windy City Innovations, LLC, 2018-1400
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
    • March 18, 2020
    ...to encourage courts to defer to agencies on issues that ‘implicate[ ] agency expertise in a meaningful way.’ " (quoting Sandoval v. Reno , 166 F.3d 225, 239 (3d Cir. 1999) (alteration in original))); see also Kisor v. Wilkie , ––– U.S. ––––, 139 S. Ct. 2400, 2414, 204 L.Ed.2d 841 (2019) (ex......
  • Yu v. Brown, No. Civ.97-1491 MV/WWD.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • April 26, 2000
    ...in the formation of substantive policy." Jurado-Gutierrez v. Greene, 190 F.3d 1135, 1147 (10th Cir.1999) (quoting Sandoval v. Reno, 166 F.3d 225, 239 (3rd Cir.1999)). Here it is not clear that Chevron deference is appropriate. As an initial matter, as this Court will explain more fully in s......
  • Rogowski v. Reno, No. Civ. 3:99cv790(PCD).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • October 28, 1999
    ...v. Reno, 144 F.3d 110, 125 (1st Cir.1998), cert. denied, 526 U.S. 1004, 119 S.Ct. 1140, 143 L.Ed.2d 208 (1999); Sandoval v. Reno, 166 F.3d 225, 234 (3d Cir.1999). "[S]tatutes are not ordinarily afforded retroactive effect unless `Congress has clearly manifested its intent' to have them so a......
  • Tineo v. Ashcroft, No. 02-3636.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Third Circuit
    • December 4, 2003
    ...pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241(a). See I.N.S. v. St. Cyr, 533 U.S. 289, 314, 121 S.Ct. 2271, 150 L.Ed.2d 347 (2001); Sandoval v. Reno, 166 F.3d 225, 237-38 (3d Cir.1999). We have jurisdiction to review the final order of the District Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § Our review over a grant of ha......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
154 cases
  • Facebook, Inc. v. Windy City Innovations, LLC, 2018-1400
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
    • March 18, 2020
    ...to encourage courts to defer to agencies on issues that ‘implicate[ ] agency expertise in a meaningful way.’ " (quoting Sandoval v. Reno , 166 F.3d 225, 239 (3d Cir. 1999) (alteration in original))); see also Kisor v. Wilkie , ––– U.S. ––––, 139 S. Ct. 2400, 2414, 204 L.Ed.2d 841 (2019) (ex......
  • Yu v. Brown, No. Civ.97-1491 MV/WWD.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • April 26, 2000
    ...in the formation of substantive policy." Jurado-Gutierrez v. Greene, 190 F.3d 1135, 1147 (10th Cir.1999) (quoting Sandoval v. Reno, 166 F.3d 225, 239 (3rd Cir.1999)). Here it is not clear that Chevron deference is appropriate. As an initial matter, as this Court will explain more fully in s......
  • Rogowski v. Reno, No. Civ. 3:99cv790(PCD).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • October 28, 1999
    ...v. Reno, 144 F.3d 110, 125 (1st Cir.1998), cert. denied, 526 U.S. 1004, 119 S.Ct. 1140, 143 L.Ed.2d 208 (1999); Sandoval v. Reno, 166 F.3d 225, 234 (3d Cir.1999). "[S]tatutes are not ordinarily afforded retroactive effect unless `Congress has clearly manifested its intent' to have them so a......
  • Tineo v. Ashcroft, No. 02-3636.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Third Circuit
    • December 4, 2003
    ...pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241(a). See I.N.S. v. St. Cyr, 533 U.S. 289, 314, 121 S.Ct. 2271, 150 L.Ed.2d 347 (2001); Sandoval v. Reno, 166 F.3d 225, 237-38 (3d Cir.1999). We have jurisdiction to review the final order of the District Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § Our review over a grant of ha......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT