Reyes Mata v. Lynch

Summarized by:

  • Court: United States Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Immigration
  • Date Filed: June 15, 2015
  • Case #: 14-185
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Kagan, J., delivered the Court's opinion. Thomas, J filed a dissenting opinion.
  • Full Text Opinion

Federal Circuit Courts have jurisdiction to review a denial of an alien's petition to reopen a removal proceeding by the Board of Immigration Appeals.

Petitioner, a Mexican citizen residing unlawfully in the United States, was convicted of assault and ordered removed by an Immigration Judge (IJ). Petitioner appealed, but his attorney failed to timely file a brief. Despite Petitioner’s argument the time should toll due to ineffective legal assistance, the BIA upheld the IJ’s decision. Further, the BIA declined to exercise its authority to reopen the case sua sponte and review the case on the merits. The Fifth Circuit refused to review the case, citing only its lack of jurisdiction to review the BIA’s sua sponte discretion.

The Supreme Court found that courts of appeals have well-documented authority to review a BIA’s decision not to allow equitable tolling, and other final orders, regardless of its reasoning and should rehear Petitioner’s appeal on the merits. REVERSED and REMANDED.

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