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Immigration Law
University of Oklahoma College of Law
Scaperlanda, Michael A.

I. Overview of United States Immigration Law
            -The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) – 1952
    A. Terminology
            1. Alien – all people who are not nationals of the U.S.
            2. Non-citizens – same definition as alien, but preferred over alien by author
            3. Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) – those non-citizens whom the U.S. has formally
                 admitted as permanent residents
    B. General Regulation of Immigration
            1. Homeland Security Act of 2002 (HSA)
                        -created the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS)
                        -dissolved the Immigration and Naturalization (INS) and transferred almost all of
                         its functions to the DHS
                                    i. Immigration Enforcement (two bureaus)
                                                a. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
                                                            -took over functions of the INS Border Patrol
                                                                        -border inspections take place at all ports of entry,
                                                                         including land borders, airports, and seaports
                                                b. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
                                                            -functions mainly in the interior, dealing with
                                                             investigations, intelligence-gathering, detention,
                                                             registration of non-citizens, and some deportation
                                    ii. Immigration Service Entity
                                                a. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
                                                            -handles a variety of applications for immigration benefits
            2. Department of Justice
                        -lost the INS
                        -retains the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR)
                                    -given statutory recognition by HSA
                                    -EOIR does only one thing – Adjudication
                                    -Three Units
                                                i. Office of the Chief Immigration Judge
                                                            -coordinates the work of immigration judges whose
                                                             function is to preside over removal hearings, which are
                                                             formal evidentiary hearings in which immigration judges
                                                             decide whether to admit non-citizens to the U.S. and
                                                             whether to expel non-citizens who are already present
                                                ii. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA)
                                                            -hears appeals from the decisions of the immigration judges
                                                             as well as from certain USCIS decisions
                                                iii. Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO)
                                                            -conducts evidentiary hearings in certain eases that involve
                                                             the unauthorized employment of non-citizens and cases
                                                             that involve certain forms of job discrimination
            3. Attorney General
                        -power to direct and regulate the EOIR codified by HSA
                                    -includes authority to review individual decisions of the BIA
                                                -such decisions and Attorney General modifications thereof are
                                                 binding on immigration judges
            4. Department of State
                        -issues or denies VISAS to non-citizens who wish to enter the U.S.
                        -involved in educational exchange programs and also in refugee affairs
            5. Department of Labor
                        -handles the process when a non-citizen seeks admission to the U.S. on the basis
                         of occupational qualifications
            6. Department of Health and Human Services
                        -responsible for unaccompanied non-citizen children
                        -makes medical judgments as to admission of non-citizens
    C. Nationality
            1. INA Designations
                        i. National
                                    a. Citizens
                                    b. Those Who Are Not Citizens
                        ii. Aliens (Non-citizens)
            2. Ways to Acquire Citizenship
                        i. Being born on U.S. soil
                        ii. By descent (in some cases)
                        iii. Naturalization
                                    -one must affirmatively apply to be naturalized
            3. Ways to Lose Citizenship
                        i. Revocation of naturalization
                                    -due to defects in the original naturalization order
                        ii. Expatriation
                                    -voluntary relinquishment of citizenship
    D. The Admission of Non-citizens to the U.S.
            1. Non-immigrants
                        -those who fall into any of several categories of temporary entrants
                                    -EX: tourists; exchange students
            2. Immigrants
                        -everyone else who does not fall into any of several non-immigrant categories
                                    -EX: LPRs (lawfully admitted entrants); undocumented immigrants (those
                                     who are not lawfully admitted)
            3. Restrictions
                        i. Non-immigrants
                                    -numerically unrestricted, but
                                    -must fit within a category where intent to leave the U.S. is present; and
                                    -must not fall within any of the grounds for inadmissibility, such as crime
                        ii. Immigrants
                                    -must fit within one of several statutory categories
                                                -family reunification (family sponsored immigrants)
                                                -employment based immigrants
                                                -diversity based immigrants
                                    -each category is generally numerically restricted (quotas)
                                                -of which, there are two types
                                                            -for each category, no more than a specified number maybe
                                                             admitted worldwide in a given fiscal year
                                                            -limits on the number of immigrants who may be admitted
                                                             from a single country in a given year
                                    -family members (some cases) and refugees may not be subject to these
                                     numerical restrictions
                        iii. Refugees
                                    -to be considered a refugee, one must have a:
                                                -well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion,
                                                 nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political
                                                            -such individuals are admitted under two separate programs
                                                                        -overseas refugee program
                                                                                    -numerical limits
                                                                                    -those who apply from outside U.S. territory
                                                                        -asylum program
                                                                                    -not subject to numerical limits
                                                                                    -those already in the U.S.
     E. Expulsion
            1. Deportation
                        -for those non-citizens who have overstayed or otherwise violated the terms of
                         their non-immigrant status
                        -for those who were never admitted
                        -for those whose conduct does not comport with the requirements of
                         non-immigrant status
                                    -EX: committing a crime
                        -voluntary departure
    F. Other Sanctions
            -civil and criminal sanctions for immigration related misconduct
            -Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) 1986 – dealing with employers who hire
              unauthorized non-citizens
II. The Immigration Debate: Goals, Strategies and Impact
    A. The Moral Dimensions of Immigration Control
            -non-citizens are subject to a complex set of rules that restrict their admission and the
             duration and other terms of their stay
            -who will

to control its borders absolute
                                    -Constitutional impact
                                                -Congress did not ask if the Constitution limited the govt.’s ability
                                                 to control the nation’s borders
                                                            -Scaperlanda indicates that it did
            3. Theories for Exclusion
                        i. Foreign Affairs Theories
                                    -because the fed. govt. has the ability to regulate foreign affairs and
                                     commerce, it has the ability to regulate immigration           
                                    -this is not a very well-liked theory
                                                -there is little support for this theory
                                                            -there are no constitutional provisions which grant
                                                             the fed. govt. such authority under what little it does
                                                             provide for regulation of foreign affairs
                        ii. Structural Theories
                                    -the structure of the Constitution suggests a general power to conduct
                                     foreign affairs, including immigration
                                    -according to Aleinikoff and Martin
                                                -the constitutional structure reveals intent to place the fed. govt.
                                                 on an equal footing with the central govt. s of other nations,
                                                 which have the power to exclude non-citizens; and
                                                -the framers of the constitution must have intended to authorize the
                                                 fed. govt. to define who we are as a people
                                    -constitutional provisions guaranteeing fundamental privacy rights and the
                                     protection thereof speak to the necessity for immigration regulation as
                                     the U.S. is a sovereign nation and has the power to perform sovereign
                                                -according to Scaperlanda:
                                                            -the fed. govt. limited the exercise of its power over its
                                                             sovereign authority to control its borders or to exclude
                        iii. Obviousness Theories
                                    -framers declined to specify a fed. power to exclude aliens because they
                                     believed such a power was too obvious to require mention
                                                -nature of the sovereign to regulate and control its borders
    C. Limits to the Federal Immigration Power
            1. IIRIRA
                        -abolished the terminology “deportation,” its various forms (used to refer to
                         making a non-citizen, who had already entered the U.S. and wished to remain,
                         leave; and “exclude,” and its various forms, which was used to refer to not
                         allowing a non-citizen who sought entry to the U.S. from entering
                        -established the term “removal” and its various forms to refer to a proceeding
                         in which both kinds of determinations (whether to allow entry of a non-citizen
                         or to make a non-citizen leave who was already here)
                        -for constitutional purposes
                                    -it is convenient to use the terms exclusion and deportation