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ATTORNEY [ licensed to practice in KOREA, U.S.A., ILLINOIS ] LEE, JAE WOOK
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Statutory restraint on prosecutorial discretion
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Another potential constraint
        a) upon the executive branch’s exercise
                i) of prosecutorial discretion

1) was noted
        a) by the Supreme Court
        b) in Heckler v. Cheney.


the Court rejected a challenge
        a) to the Food and Drug Administration’s
                i) (FDA’s)
                ii) decision
                        A) not to exercise its enforcement authority
                                I) over the use of certain drugs

1) on the grounds that
        a) “an agency’s decision
                i) not to take enforcement action

          should be presumed
                i) immune from judicial review
                        A) under § 701(a)(2)”
                                I) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).114

Section 701(a)(2)
        a) of the APA

1) generally bars review
        a) of “agency action
                i) [that] is committed to agency discretion by law,”115 and

2) the Court’s statement here would suggest that
        a) it views exercises
                i) of prosecutorial discretion
                ii) as generally committed to agency discretion
                        A) by law.


the Heckler Court also noted that
        a) this presumption
                i) of nonreviewability

          “may be rebutted
        b) where the substantive statute has provided guidelines
                i) for the agency
                        A) to follow
                ii) in exercising its enforcement powers.”116

        a) whether a statute provides “guidelines”
        b) so as to make an agency’s determination
                i) not to take enforcement action
                        A) reviewable

1) generally implicates questions
        a) of statutory interpretation.

Such questions are not necessarily easily answered,

1) though,
        a) as is illustrated
                i) by the argument
                        A) that the executive branch lacks the discretion
                                I) to grant deferred action
                                        (a) to DACA beneficiaries
                        B) because the INA requires the removal of aliens
                                I) who entered the United States unlawfully.117

This argument,
        a) which has recently been made
                i) by some commentators and litigants,

1) rests upon three “interlocking provisions”
        a) in Section 235
                i) of the INA
        b) that were added or amended
                i) by IIRIRA.

Briefly summarized,

these provisions state that

        1. any alien
                i) present in the United States
                ii) who has not been admitted

             shall be deemed an applicant
                i) for admission;

        2. applicants
                i) for admission

            shall be inspected
                i) by immigration officers; and

        3. in the case
                i) of an alien
                        A) who is an applicant for admission,

                1) if the examining immigration officer determines that
                        A) an alien
                                I) seeking admission

                            is not
                                I) clearly and
                                II) beyond a doubt
                                III) entitled to be admitted,
                2) the alien shall be detained
                        A) for removal proceedings.118

        a) who view these provisions
                i) as requiring the removal of aliens
                        A) who entered the United States
                                I) unlawfully

1) would appear to construe
        a) “shall”
                i) as indicating mandatory agency action, and
        b) all “applicants for admission”
                i) as “aliens seeking admission.”

112 See, e.g., Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2012, P.L. 112-74, Div. D., tit. ii, 125 Stat. 950 (Dec. 23, 2011) (“[T]he Secretary of Homeland Security shall prioritize the identification and removal of aliens convicted of a crime by the severity of that crime.”); Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2010, P.L.
111-83, Div. D., tit. III, 123 Stat. 2142 (Oct. 28, 2009) (same); Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, P.L. 110-329, Div. D, tit. ii, 122 Stat. 3659 (Sept. 30, 2008) (same); Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008, P.L. 110-
161, 121 Stat. 2050-51 (Dec. 26, 2007) (funding to “improve and modernize efforts to identify aliens convicted of a crime, sentenced to imprisonment, and who may be deportable, and remove them from the United States”); H.R. REPT.
111-157, at 6 (2009) (“[R]ather than simply rounding up as many illegal immigrants as possible, which is sometimes achieved by targeting the easiest and least threatening among the undocumented population, DHS must ensure that the
government’s huge investments in immigration enforcement are producing the maximum return in making our country safer.”).
113 See, e.g., Civil Immigration Enforcement, supra note 8, at 1-2 (aliens who have been convicted of crimes, are at least 16 years of age and participate in organized criminal gangs, are subject to outstanding criminal warrants, or “otherwise pose a serious risk to public safety” constituting the highest priorities for removal). Relatedly, Secretary Napolitano’s announcement of the DACA initiative expressly excluded from consideration for deferred action under DACA persons who have been convicted of a felony, a “significant misdemeanor,” or multiple misdemeanors. See Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children, supra note
10, at 1.
114 Heckler, 470 U.S. at 832.
115 5 U.S.C. §701(a)(2). This presumption is an exception to the general rule that the APA “embodi[es] a ‘basic presumption of judicial review.’” Lincoln v. Vigil, 508 U.S. 182, 190 (1993) (quoting Abbott Labs. v. Gardner, 387
U.S. 136, 140 (1967)).
116 470 U.S. at 832-33. See also id. at 833 (“[I]n establishing this presumption [of nonreviewability] in the APA, Congress did not set agencies free to disregard legislative direction in the statutory scheme that the agency administers. Congress may limit an agency’s exercise of enforcement power if it wishes, either by setting substantive priorities, or by otherwise circumscribing an agency’s power to discriminate among issues or cases it will pursue.”).

The federal district court
        a) reviewing ICE agents’ challenge
                i) to the DACA initiative

1) initially adopted this interpretation,
        a) finding that
                i) the INA’s “use
                        A) of the word
                                I) ‘shall’

                    imposes a mandatory duty
                        A) on immigration officers
                        B) to initiate removal proceedings
                                I) whenever they encounter ‘applicants for admission’
                                        (a) who are not
                                                (a) ‘clearly and
                                                (b) beyond a doubt
                                                (c) entitled to be admitted.’”119


the court subsequently found that
        a) the same alleged injury
                i) that gave the plaintiffs
                        A) standing to bring their challenge—
                ii) namely, their “being compelled
                        A) to violate a federal statute
                                I) upon pain of adverse employment action”—

           means that
                i) their case
                        A) is within the exclusive jurisdiction
                                I) of the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), and
                        B) cannot be heard
                                I) by a federal district court.120

No other court has addressed the construction
        a) of these three provisions
                i) of the INA
        b) as an “interlocking” whole.

Another court,
        a) if it found that
                i) it had jurisdiction,

1) could potentially adopt an alternate interpretation,
2) particularly given
        a) prior decisions
                i) distinguishing between
                        A) aliens
                                I) within the United States
                                II) who have not been admitted, and
                        B) aliens
                                I) seeking admission
                                        (a) at ports of entry.121

The Supreme Court’s decision
        a) in Arizona v. United States

1) could also potentially be said
        a)to support an alternate construction.122

While the majority
        a) in Arizona

    did not
        a) directly
        b) address the DACA initiative,

1) it expressly noted the “broad discretion
        a) exercised by immigration officials”
                i) in the removal process.123

Because such discretion would arguably be inconsistent
        a) with a statutory requirement
                i) to place in removal proceedings
                        A) all aliens
                                I) who entered the United States unlawfully,

1) the majority’s decision suggests that
        a) the Court does not construe the INA
                i) as legally compelling immigration officers
                        A) to place all aliens
                                I) who entered the United States unlawfully
                                II) in removal proceedings.

Courts could also potentially construe other provisions
        a) of the INA
        b) that use “shall”
                i) differently than
                        A) the district court
                                I) reviewing the ICE officers’ challenge
                                        (a) to DACA

                           construed the three provisions noted above.

117 See, e.g., Arizona v. United States, No. 11-182, Amicus Curiae Brief of Secure States Initiative in Support of
Petitioners, at 8-9; Crane, Amended Complaint, supra note 3, at ¶¶ 38-40.
118 INA §235(a)(1), (a)(3), and (b)(2)(A); 8 U.S.C. §1225(a)(1), (a)(3), and (b)(2)(A).
119 Crane, No. 3:12-cv-03247-O, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57788, at *28-*29 (N.D. Tex., Apr. 23, 2013).
120 Crane, Order, supra note 79.
121 See, e.g., 8 C.F.R. §236.1(c) & (d); Matter of Oseiwusu, 22 I. & N. Dec. 19 (BIA 1998) (“According to the regulations, an Immigration Judge has no authority over the apprehension, custody, and detention of arriving aliens and is therefore without authority to consider the bond request of an alien returning pursuant to a grant of advance parole.”).
122 See Arizona v. United States,—U.S.—132 S. Ct. 2492 (2012). Moreover, even if a reviewing court construed Section 235 of the INA as statutorily compelling DHS to place aliens who unlawfully entered the United States into removal proceedings, DHS would not necessarily be barred from exercising certain forms of prosecutorial discretion as to DACA beneficiaries after these individuals have been placed into removal proceedings. See generally Crane, Amended Complaint, supra 3, at ¶ 71 (“[A]ny ‘prosecutorial discretion’ that Defendants exercise must be consistent with 8 U.S.C. § 1225 and can only occur after an alien has been placed into removal proceedings as required by 8
U.S.C. §1225, or under a provision of federal law expressly authorizing such ‘prosecutorial discretion.’”).

Whether “Shall” Means Agencies Lack Discretion

The argument
        a) that Section 235
                i) of the INA

                i) that aliens
                        A) who unlawfully entered the United States

                   be placed in removal proceedings

1) appears
        a) to rest on
                i) the use
                        A) of “shall”
                        B) in Section 235, and
                ii) the view
                        A) that “shall” indicates mandatory agency action.

“Shall” frequently indicates required action,

1) particularly when used
        a) in contexts
                i) that do not implicate an agency’s enforcement discretion.124


the use
        a) of “shall”
        b) in Section 235, or
        c) elsewhere in the INA,

1) would not,
        a) in itself,
        b) necessarily be construed
                i) to mean that
                        A) DHS is required to take particular actions,
2) because courts have found that
        a) agencies may retain discretion
        b) even when a statute uses “shall.”125

The statute
        a) at issue in Heckler, for example,

1) stated that

        [a]ny article
                i) of food, drug, or cosmetic
                ii) that is
                        A) adulterated or
                        B) misbranded
                                I) when introduced into or
                                II) while in interstate commerce or
                                III) while held for sale ...
                                        (a) after shipment in interstate commerce, or
                iii) which may not ... be introduced into interstate commerce,

        1) shall be liable
                i) to be proceeded against.126

123 Arizona, 132 S. Ct. at 2499 (“A principal feature of the removal system is the broad discretion exercised by immigration officials. Federal officials, as an initial matter, must decide whether it makes sense to pursue removal at all. If removal proceedings commence, aliens may seek asylum and other discretionary relief allowing them to remain in the country or at least to leave without formal removal. Discretion in the enforcement of immigration law embraces immediate human concerns. … Some discretionary decisions [also] involve policy choices that bear on this Nation’s international relations. ... The dynamic nature of relations with other countries requires the Executive Branch to ensure that enforcement policies are consistent with this Nation’s foreign policy with respect to these and other realities.”) (internal citations omitted)).
124 See, e.g., Lopez v. Davis, 531 U.S. 230, 241 (2001) (“Congress’ use of the permissive ‘may’ in § 3621(e)(2)(B)
contrasts with the legislators’ use of a mandatory ‘shall’ in the very same section. Elsewhere in § 3621, Congress used
‘shall’ to impose discretionless obligations, including the obligation to provide drug treatment when funds are available. See 18 U.S.C. § 3621(e)(1) (‘Bureau of Prisons shall, subject to the availability of appropriations, provide residential substance abuse treatment (and make arrangements for appropriate aftercare)’); see also, e.g., § 3621(b) (‘The Bureau shall designate the place of the prisoner’s imprisonment.... In designating the place of imprisonment or making transfers under this subsection, there shall be no favoritism given to prisoners of high social or economic status.’”).
125 INS and, later, DHS has also taken the position that the use of “shall” in a statute does not, by itself, limit the ability of immigration officers to exercise prosecutorial discretion, and the agencies’ views could potentially be entitled to some deference, as discussed below. See, e.g., 2002 INS Guidance, supra note 2 (“[A] statute directing that the INS
‘shall’ remove removable aliens would not be construed by itself to limit prosecutorial discretion.”); INS Exercise of Prosecutorial Discretion, supra note 15, at 8 (opining that any statutory limits on INS’s prosecutorial discretion must be “clear and specific”).
126 470 U.S. at 835 (quoting 21 U.S.C. §334(a)(1) (emphasis added)).


despite its use
        a) of “shall,”

1) this statutory provision was construed
        a) by the Court
        b) as “framed
                i) in the permissive.”127

The Board of Immigration Appeals
        a) (BIA),
        b) the highest administrative body
                i) for
                        A) construing and
                        B) applying
                                I) immigration law,

1) has also rejected the view        
        a) that “shall” means that
                i) immigration officials necessarily lack discretion
                        A) as to whether to take particular actions.

For example,

in a 2011 decision,

the BIA found that
        a) determinations
                i) as to whether to pursue
                        A) expedited removal proceedings
                                I) under Section 235 of the INA or
                        B) formal removal proceedings
                                I) under Section 240 of the INA

            are within DHS’s discretion,
        b) notwithstanding the fact that
                i) the INA uses “shall”
                        A) in describing
                                I) who is subject to expedited removal.128

In so doing,

the BIA specifically noted that

        in the Federal criminal code,

        Congress has defined most crimes
                i) by providing that
                        A) whoever engages in certain conduct “shall” be imprisoned or otherwise punished.

        But this has never been construed
                i) to require a Federal prosecutor
                        A) to bring charges
                                I) against every person
                                        (a) believed to have violated the statute.129

In light of these precedents,

the use
        a) of “shall,”
        b) in itself,

1) might not suffice
        a) for a court to find that
                i) an agency lacks the discretion
                        A) not to enforce particular statutory requirements
                                I) against certain individuals.


a reviewing court might also consider
        a) the overall “statutory scheme [and]
        b) its objectives.”130

For example,

in Dunlop v. Bachowski,

the Court found that
        a) the Department of Labor’s alleged nonenforcement
                i) of a statute

           was reviewable,
        b) unlike with the statute
                i) at issue in Heckler.

The statute
        a) in question

1) used the word
        a) “shall,”
2) but the Court does not appear
        a) to have accorded any special significance
                i) to this word.


the Court emphasized
        a) that the statute directed the Secretary of Labor
                i) to investigate certain complaints
                        A) brought by members of labor organizations
                        B) challenging the validity
                                I) of union elections, and
                ii) bring a civil action
                        A) against the labor organization
                        B) within 60 days of the complaint’s filing
                        C) if the Secretary finds probable cause
                                I) to believe
                                        (a) a violation
                                                (i) occurred and
                                                (ii) has not been remedied.131

Because of these provisions,

the Court viewed the Secretary’s discretion
        a) as limited to determining
                i) whether there is probable cause
                        A) to believe that
                                I) a violation occurred.132


in Adams v. Richardson,

the U.S. Court of Appeals
        a) for the District of Columbia Circuit

1) noted that
        a) the statute in question was not “so broad”
                i) as to preclude judicial review,
        b) since it “indicates
                i) with precision
                ii) the measures
                        A) available to enforce the Act.”133

Deference to Agencies’ Interpretations of Their Governing Statutes

Another potential issue
        a) that can arise
                i) in determining
                        A) whether “shall” indicates mandatory agency action
                                I) when used in particular statutory provisions

1) is
        a) how the agency has construed the provision, and
        b) whether a court finds that
                i) the agency’s interpretation is entitled to deference
                        A) under the precedent of Chevron, USA v. Natural Resources Defense Council.134

In Chevron,

the Supreme Court articulated a two-part test
        a) for review of an agency’s construction
                i) of a statute
                        A) which it administers:

        (1) Has Congress
                i) directly
                ii) spoken to the precise question
                        A) at issue? and
        (2) If not,
                i) is the agency’s reasonable interpretation
                        A) of the statute
                        B) consistent with the purposes of the statute?135

        “[I]f the statute speaks
                i) clearly
                ii) ‘to the precise question at issue,’”

        1) the tribunal “must give effect
                i) to the unambiguously expressed intent
                        A) of Congress,”136
        2)  regardless of what the agency regulation provides.


        where “the statute is
                i) silent or
                ii) ambiguous
                        A) with respect to the specific issue,”

        1) the tribunal “must sustain the [a]gency’s interpretation
        2) if it is ‘based on a permissible construction’
                i) of the Act.”137

127 Id. See also id. at 842 (Marshall, J., concurring) (indicating that the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act is “not a mandatory statute” and, thus, the Food and Drug Administration has “significant discretion” to choose which alleged violations to prosecute).
128 Matter of E-R-M & L-R-M, 25 I. & N. Dec. 520, 523 (BIA 2011).
129 Id. at 522.
130 Dunlop v. Bachowski, 421 U.S. 560, 567 (1975) (also considering the legislative history and the “nature of the administrative action involved”).
131 Id. at 563.
132 Id. at 570.
133 480 F.2d at 1162. See also id. at 1163 (noting that “[t]he Act sets forth two alternative courses of action by which enforcement may be effected”).

In the case
        a) of Section 235
                i) of the INA, for example,

1) the Department of Justice (DOJ)
        a) and, later, DHS

   have interpreted the relevant provisions
        a) of the INA
        b) in a somewhat different manner
                i) than those
                        A) who argue that
                                I) DHS lacks the discretion
                                        (a) not to remove aliens
                                                (i) who entered the United States unlawfully.

        a) DOJ/DHS and
        b) those
                i) who claim it lacks discretion

1) construe the first two provisions
        a) of Section 235
                i) of the INA noted above—
                ii) aliens
                        A) present without admission

                   being deemed applicants for admission, and
                iii) applicants for admission

                   being inspected—
        b) as applying to both
                (1) “arriving aliens”
                        A) at a port-of-entry and
                (2) aliens
                        A) who are present in the United States
                                I) without inspection.


        a) DOJ and
        b) DHS

1) have differed from proponents
        a) of the view
                i) that DHS lacks discretion
                        A) in that
                                I) DOJ and
                                II) DHS

                                    have construed the third provision—
                                        (a) regarding detention of certain aliens
                                                (i) seeking admission—
                                        (b) as applicable
                                                (i) only to arriving aliens,
                                                        (A) not aliens
                                                                (I) who are present without inspection.138

This difference appears to have arisen,

1) in part, because the agencies
        a) have emphasized the phrase
                i) “aliens seeking admission”
                ii) in the third provision, and
        b) have reasoned that
                i) only arriving aliens
                        A) at ports-of-entry

                    can be said
                        A) to be seeking admission.139

134 467 U.S. 837 (1984).
135 467 U.S. at 842-43.
136 Barnhart v. Walton, 535 U.S. 212, 217 (2002) (quoting Chevron, 467 U.S. at 842-43).
137 Id. at 218 (quoting, in part, Chevron, 467 U.S. at 843).
138 Specifically, the regulation implementing the third INA provision noted above—regarding the detention of aliens seeking admission—applies only to arriving aliens, not to aliens who entered without admission. See 8 C.F.R.
§235.3(c) (“[A]ny arriving alien who appears to the inspecting officer to be inadmissible, and who is placed in removal proceedings pursuant to section 240 of the Act shall be detained in accordance with section 235(b) of the Act”). This
has been the agency’s interpretation of the provision since the initial final rule implementing this provision. See INS, Inspection and Expedited Removal of Aliens; Detention and Removal of Aliens; Conduct of Removal Proceedings; Asylum Procedures, 62 Fed. Reg. 10312, 10357 (Mar. 6, 1997) (codified at 8 C.F.R. §235.3(c)). See also INS, Inspection and Expedited Removal of Aliens; Detention and Removal of Aliens; Conduct of Removal Proceedings;
Asylum Procedures, 62 Fed. Reg. 444, 444-46 (Jan. 3, 1997) (noting that the INA “distinguishes between the broader term ‘applicants for admission’ and a narrower group, ‘arriving aliens’”). The term “arriving alien” is defined in the regulations as “an applicant for admission coming or attempting to come into the United States at a port-of-entry, or an alien seeking transit through the United States at a port-of-entry, or an alien interdicted in international or United States
waters and brought into the United States,” but does not include aliens who entered without inspection. See 8 C.F.R.
139 The position of DHS and DOJ may also reflect concerns that if Section 235(b)(2)(A) were construed to apply to all applicants for admission, the statutory language regarding “seeking admission” would be superfluous, and construing statutes so as to give effect to all of their provisions is one of the fundamental principles of statutory interpretation. See, e.g., Hibbs v. Winn, 542 U.S. 88, 101 (2004) (“A statute should be construed so that effect is given to all its provisions, so that no part will be inoperative or superfluous, void or insignificant.”); Montclair v. Ramsdell, 107 U.S. 147, 152 (1883) (Courts should “give effect, if possible, to every clause and word of a statute, avoiding, if it may be, any construction which implies that the legislature was ignorant of the meaning of the language it employed.”). Similarly, if detention were mandatory for all applicants for admission under INA 235(b)(2)(A), then the language including inadmissible aliens under the mandatory detention provision in Section 236(c)(1)(A) and (D) of the INA would
arguably be superfluous as well, since the only aliens in the United States who are subject to the grounds of inadmissibility are applicants for admission. The agencies’ interpretation does not appear to have been directly adopted

The district court
        a) reviewing ICE agents’ challenge
                i) to the DACA initiative

1) declined to grant any deference
        a) to DHS’s interpretation here.

The court found that
        a) this interpretation was not entitled to deference,
        b) in part, because it viewed the relevant provisions
                i) of the INA
                ii) as unambiguously applying to both
                        A) aliens
                                I) coming (or attempting to come) into the United States
                                        (a) at a port of entry, and
                        B) aliens
                                I) present in the United States
                                        (a) without having been admitted.140

It also found that
        a) DHS regulations did not support DHS’s proposed interpretation
        b) because,
                i) while these regulations applied to arriving aliens,
                ii) they were not limited to arriving aliens.141


as previously noted,

this court is the only court
        a) to have so reached this conclusion, and

1) it subsequently found that
        a) it lacked jurisdiction
                i) over the ICE agents’ claims.142

It is unclear
        a) whether other courts would reach the same conclusion
                i) as to
                        A) whether and
                        B) how much
                                I) deference should be accorded to DHS’s interpretation
                                        (a) of these three provisions of INA §235.

It should also be noted that
        a) the INS
                i) and, later, DHS

            have interpreted other provisions
                i) of the INA
                ii) differently than §235,
                iii) construing them
                        A) as removing prosecutorial discretion
                                I) as to certain determinations.

For example,

immigration authorities have long maintained
        a) that Section 236(c)
                i) of the INA—
                ii) which states that
← End

Statutory restraint on prosecutorial discretion

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