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Samuel Alito on Immigration

Supreme Court Justice (nominated by Pres. George W. Bush 2005)


Voted against immigrants because Congress set law that way

SEN. KOHL: The Washington Post analyzed your record as a 3rd Circuit judge for the past 15 years. They analyzed 221 cases. In immigration cases, The Post also found that you sided with immigrants who were trying to win asylum or block deportation only in one out of eight cases analyzed. This was much less than most judges in a national sample, [who sided with the immigrant 50% of the time].

ALITO: In the area of immigration, Congress has spoken clearly. As to factual decisions that are made by an immigration judge, Congress has told us, “You are not to disturb those unless no reasonable fact finder could have reached the conclusion that the immigration judge did.” My role is not to substitute my judgment for that of the immigration judge. My job is to say, “Could a reasonable person have reached the conclusion that the immigration judge did?” And if I find that a reasonable person could have reached that conclusion, then it’s my job to deny the petition for review.

Source: Sam Alito Senate Confirmation Hearings , Jan 11, 2006

Asylum only ok for facing forced abortion, if married

Case Summary: Cai Luan Chen v. Ashcroft (3d Circuit 2004) /b>

Alito concludes that the Board of Immigration Appeals (?BIA?)?s decision to deny asylum applications to unmarried partners of persons who suffered forced abortions or involuntary sterilizations was ?rational.?
-- BIA judge?s order denying asylum and withholding of removal is affirmed

Source: FindLaw.com Case Summaries , Apr 21, 2005

Asylum ok when home country forces birth control

Case Summary: Xiu Ling Zhang v. Gonzales (3d Circuit 2005)

Writing the Court?s opinion, Alito highlighted the Board of Immigration Appeals (?BIA?) error by failing to ?explain why the alleged birth-control documents that she submitted did not bolster her credibility...If authentic and accurate, they powerfully corroborate her claims.?
-- BIA judge?s order denying asylum and withholding of removal is vacated, and case remanded.

Source: FindLaw.com Case Summaries , Apr 21, 2005

Asylum ok for persecuted Christians facing forced abortion

Case Summary: Gui Cun Liu v. Ashcroft

Alito holds that it was ?legal error for the Immigration Judge to reject the abortion certificates? solely on the ground that they were not authenticated. Petitioner and her husband argued that she was forced two times by the Chinese government to have abortions, and that they faced government persecution because they are Christians.
-- Court vacates the BIA?s order denying asylum and withholding removal, and remands the case back to the BIA

Source: FindLaw.com Case Summaries , Jun 28, 2004

AZ may revoke licenses for hiring unauthorized aliens.

Justice Alito joined the Court's decision on CHAMBER OF COMMERCE v. WHITING on May 26, 2011:

The 1986 federal Immigration Reform and Control Act forbids state governments from sanctioning employers who hire "unauthorized aliens." The 2007 Legal Arizona Workers Act authorizes State courts to suspend and revoke State-issued licenses, charters, etc. for businesses that knowingly hire "unauthorized aliens." The AZ law also requires employers to use the federal E-Verify system to determine the work eligibility of all employees.

HELD:Delivered by Roberts; joined by Scalia, Kennedy, Alito & Thomas

The federal law allows States to take licensing action. The word "license" includes the many forms of legal permission to perform an act, and therefore includes charters, articles of incorporation, etc. The AZ law relies only on determinations made by federal authorities of employment eligibility, and allows employers the same good faith defense as in federal law. Employers, in fact, must use the E-Verify system provided by the federal government.

DISSENT #1:Breyer dissents; joined by Ginsburg

The AZ law intrudes on Congress's balancing of
  1. immigration enforcement
  2. burdens on employers, and
  3. prevention of discrimination.
The meaning of "licensing" in the immigration law was never intended to mean every form of business permit that a State might issue, but only in regards to licensed employment agencies. Also, E-Verify is error prone and may not be relied upon.

DISSENT #2:Sotomayor dissents

This one poorly drafted clause in the federal immigration statute was only meant to allow States to take action against business licenses AFTER a successful federal government prosecution of a business for hiring an unauthorized alien. The AZ law runs contrary to the uniformity and expertise in enforcement of immigration law that Congress intended by allowing only federal officials to prosecute and rule upon civil and criminal cases.

Kagan recused herself.

Source: Supreme Court case 11-WHITING argued on Dec 8, 2010

Other Justices on Immigration: Samuel Alito on other issues:
Samuel Alito
Stephen Breyer
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Elena Kagan
Anthony Kennedy
John Roberts
Antonin Scalia
Sonia Sotomayor
Clarence Thomas

Former Justices:
David Souter
Sandra Day O'Connor
William Rehnquist
John Paul Stevens

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Page last updated: Mar 08, 2014