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IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE v. NATIONAL CENTER FOR IMMIGRANTS' RIGHTS

decided: December 16, 1991.

IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE, ET AL., PETITIONERS
v.
NATIONAL CENTER FOR IMMIGRANTS' RIGHTS, INC., ET AL.



ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT.

Stevens, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.

Author: Stevens

JUSTICE STEVENS delivered the opinion of the Court.

This case presents a narrow question of statutory construction. Section 242(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) authorizes the Attorney General to arrest excludable aliens and, pending a determination of their deportability, either to hold them in custody or to release them on bond "containing such conditions as the Attorney General may prescribe." 66 Stat. 208, as amended, 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(1). We granted the Government's petition for certiorari to decide "whether that provision prohibits promulgation of a rule generally requiring that release bonds contain a condition forbidding unauthorized employment pending determination of deportability." Pet. for Cert. I.

I

Prior to 1983, the regulations of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) provided that, when an alien was released from custody pending deportation or exclusion proceedings, the INS could in its discretion include in the bond obtained to secure the alien's release a condition barring unauthorized employment. 8 CFR § 103.6(a)(2)(ii) (1982). In 1983, the Attorney General amended those regulations to include the following provision:

"(ii) Condition against unauthorized employment. A condition barring employment shall be included in an appearance and delivery bond in connection with a deportation proceeding or bond posted for the release of an alien in exclusion proceedings, unless the District Director determines that employment is appropriate." 8 CFR § 103.6(a)(2)(ii) (1991).*fn1

In effect, the new regulation made "no-employment conditions" the rule rather than the exception.

Several individuals and organizations (respondents) filed this action challenging the validity of the new rule on statutory and constitutional grounds. Their complaint alleged that the new rule was invalid on its face and therefore could not be enforced even against aliens who may not lawfully accept employment in this country.

After finding that the plaintiffs had a fair chance of success on the merits, either on the ground that the statute did not authorize no-employment conditions because such conditions were irrelevant to securing an alien's appearance at a subsequent deportation hearing, or on the ground that the regulation violated an alien's constitutional right to due process, the District Court entered a nationwide preliminary injunction against enforcement of the rule. The Court of Appeals affirmed in part, but held that the scope of the injunction should be limited to the named plaintiffs unless the District Court granted their motion to certify a class. National Center for Immigrants' Rights, Inc. v. INS, 743 F.2d 1365 (CA9 1984).

On remand, the District Court entered summary judgment in favor of respondents on the ground that the regulation was beyond the statutory authority of the Attorney General and also certified a class consisting of "all those persons who have been or may in the future be denied the right to work pursuant to 8 CFR § 103.6." National Center for Immigration Rights, Inc. v. INS, No. CV 83-7927-KN (CD Cal., July 9, 1985), p. 1. The Court of Appeals again affirmed, concluding that the Attorney General's statutory "authority under 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a) of the Act is limited to the imposition of bond conditions which tend to insure the alien's appearance at future deportation proceedings. The peripheral concern of the Act with the employment of illegal aliens is not sufficient to support the imposition of a no-employment condition in every bond." National Center for Immigrants' Rights, Inc. v. INS, 791 F.2d 1351, 1356 (CA9 1986).

The Government petitioned for certiorari raising the same question that is now before us. The Government argued that because the regulation only barred "unauthorized" work by aliens, it merely added the threat of a bond revocation to the already existing prohibition against unauthorized employment. In view of the then-recent enactment of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), 100 Stat. 3359, which cast serious doubt on the Court of Appeals' conclusion that employment of undocumented aliens was only a "peripheral concern" of the immigration laws, we vacated that court's judgment and remanded for further consideration in the light of IRCA. 481 U.S. 1009 (1987). On remand, the District Court adhered to its original opinion that the Attorney General's discretion to impose bond conditions is "limited to those [conditions] aimed at obtaining an undocumented worker's appearance at future immigration proceedings." App. to Pet. for Cert. 68a. The District Court noted that the enactment of employer sanctions in IRCA made the question whether the employment of undocumented aliens is merely a "peripheral concern" of the INA more difficult, but concluded that this change in the law did not broaden the Attorney General's discretion.

A divided panel of the Court of Appeals again affirmed, but the majority did not rely on the District Court's reasoning. 913 F.2d 1350 (CA9 1990). The majority first rejected the Government's interpretation of the new regulation as merely barring "'unauthorized employment'"; the Court of Appeals construed the rule as a "blanket bond condition" applicable to aliens authorized to work as well as to those who had no such authority. Id., at 1353-1358. The majority then concluded that the Attorney General exceeded his statutory authority in promulgating the regulation, ruling that the Attorney General's discretion in imposing bond conditions was subject to two constraints. First, the court ruled, a bond condition must relate either to securing the alien's appearance at a subsequent hearing or to protecting the Nation from danger posed by active subversives. A no-employment condition was not related to either of these ...


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