Immigration News & Updates

Supreme Court Overturns Chevron and the Implications for AILA Members

Martha Arias - Immigration Law Attorney Miami - Chevron AILA Supreme Court Case for Immigration

On June 28, 2024, the Supreme Court ruled in Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo, overturning the Chevron deference precedent that required courts to defer to agency interpretations of ambiguous statutes. This decision, supported by six conservative justices, means courts will now interpret statutes independently. Chief Justice Roberts argued that Chevron conflicted with the judiciary’s role and the Administrative Procedure Act.

Justice Gorsuch’s concurrence emphasized that individuals should have a fair hearing before an independent judge. He cited an immigration case where retroactive application of a new interpretation violated due process rights.

Chevron is overruled. Courts must exercise their independent judgment in deciding whether an agency has acted within its statutory authority.

At a broader level, Loper Bright is a transfer of power away from federal agencies and to federal courts. It will likely lead to less national uniformity in U.S. immigration law since each federal circuit court of appeals may now give its own reading of the law. The decisions of the BIA will be questioned and overruled more often. The BIA may be forced to adopt more favorable precedents that will pass muster in most of the country. This will also reduce the dramatic shifts in the application of U.S. immigration law when presidential administrations change.

This ruling transfers power from federal agencies to courts, potentially leading to less uniformity in U.S. immigration law. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) may face more judicial scrutiny.

Post-Chevron, courts may apply a lower level of deference, as outlined in Skidmore v. Swift & Co. (1944), where agency interpretations are respected only if persuasive.

The implications for immigration lawyers are mixed. While more agency decisions denying benefits may be overturned, pro-immigration policies might face more challenges. The ruling contrasts with the recent U.S. Department of State v. Munoz decision, which limits court reviews of consular actions. Future Supreme Court decisions may need to address this inconsistency.

Martha L. Arias, Esq. - Immigration Law Attorney

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