Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Sixth Circuit Criticizes U.S. Government's "General Policy of Opposition for the Sake of Opposition" in Immigration Cases
In Flores v. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in an opinion by Judge Damon Keith, joined by Judges Martin and Cole, writes in blunt terms about the U.S. immigration laws and the U.S. government's position in the case:"This case illustrates the archaic and convoluted state of our current immigration system. While many suggest that immigrants should simply `get in line' and pursue a legal pathway to citizenship, for Saady Suazo and other similarly situated Temporary Protected Status beneficiaries, the Government proposes that there is simply no line available for them to join. The law does not support such a conclusion in this case." (emphasis added).
Early in the opinion, Judge Keith joins Careen Shannon and others in criticizing use of the term "alien" and states in footnote 1 that
"We recognize that using the term `alien' to refer to other human beings is offensive and demeaning. We do not condone the use of the term and urge Congress to eliminate it from the U.S. Code. We use it here, however, to be consistent with the statutory language and to avoid any confusion in replacing a legal term of art with a more appropriate term."
This alone is an extraordinary statement but the closing words of the Sixth Circuit no doubt attracted even greater attention from the U.S. government attorneys handling the case:
"Mr. Suazo seems to be the exact type of person that Congress would have in mind to allow adjustment of status from [Temporary Protected Status] beneficiary to [Lawful Permanent Resident]. He has been in the United States for about fifteen years. He has roots here. His wife and minor child are here. They are both United States citizens. He is of good moral character and a contributing member of society. He has waited his turn for an independent, legal, and legitimate pathway to citizenship, through the immediate relative visa application. If the statutes are interpreted as the Government argues they should be, the result would be absurd. The Government is essentially telling him that he is protected and can stay here, but that he will never be allowed to become an LPR, even for an independent basis. Under the Government’s interpretation, Mr. Suazo would have to leave the United States, be readmitted, and then go through the immigration process all over again. This is simply a waste of energy, time, government resources, and will have negative effects on his family—United States citizens. We are disturbed by the Government’s incessant and injudicious opposition in cases like this, where the only purpose seems to be a general policy of opposition for the sake of opposition." (emphasis added).