Tista v. Holder

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Immigration
  • Date Filed: 07-08-2013
  • Case #: 08-75167
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Fernandez for the Court, Circuit Judge Callahan, District Judge Vance.
  • Full Text Opinion

Based on the plain language of the statute, the Child Status Protection Act does not apply to Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act applicants; such a distinction between different classification of aliens is reviewed for rational basis, and therefore must be “wholly irrational” to violate Due Process and Equal Protection.

Albaro Elias Tista (“Tista”), a native and citizen of Guatemala applied for a special rule cancellation of removal in 1999 under the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (“NACARA”) on grounds that he is entitled because he is a child whose father was granted special rule cancellation under NACARA. Tista’s father applied in 1999 when Tista was 20 years old. The application was granted in 2006 after Tista had “aged out” of eligibility. At removal hearing the Immigration Judge (“IJ”) declared the Child Status Protection Act (“CSPA”), which prevents the determination that a child had “aged out” of eligibility, did not apply to Tista. On appeal the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) affirmed the IJ’s decision and declined to address the constitutional argument for lack of jurisdiction and dismissed Tista’s appeal. Tista, on appeal of the BIA decision, argued that the CSPA, should apply to NACARA applicants, and, if it does not, the failure to apply the CSPA to NACARA applicants violates his right to due process and equal protection of the law. The Ninth Circuit held that the plain language of the CSPA makes no mention of NACARA provisions, even though the NACARA was enacted before the CSPA was enacted, therefore based on the plain language of the statute, CSPA does not apply to NACARA applicants. The panel also held that distinctions made by Congress or the President between different classes of aliens, in the immigration context, are subject to a deferential “rational basis review”, and must be upheld if they are rationally related to a “legitimate government purpose”. A legislative classification must be “wholly irrational to violate equal protection”. PETITION DENIED.

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