Immigration and Naturalization Service v. Yueh-Shaio Yang

PETITIONER: Immigration and Naturalization Service
RESPONDENT: Yueh-Shaio Yang
LOCATION: Camp Newfound Owatonna

DOCKET NO.: 95-938
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1986-2005)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

CITATION: 519 US 26 (1996)
ARGUED: Oct 15, 1996
DECIDED: Nov 13, 1996

ADVOCATES:
Beth S. Brinkmann - Argued the cause for the petitioner
Howard Hom - Argued the cause for the respondent

Facts of the case

Yueh-Shaio Yang and his wife, former Taiwan residents, executed elaborate fraudulent schemes to gain entry to the United States and, later, to obtain Yang's citizenship. While Yang's naturalization application was pending, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) learned of his unlawful entry and issued an order to show cause why he should not be deported at the time of entry. Yang conceded that he was deportable and filed a request for a waiver of deportation under the Immigration and Nationality Act with the Attorney General. An Immigration Judge denied Yang's request. In affirming, the Board of Immigration Appeals found that Yang was statutorily eligible for a waiver, but denied it as a matter of discretion. In vacating, the Court of Appeals held that the Board had abused its discretion by considering the adverse factors of Yang's participation in his wife's fraudulent entry and, secondly, his fraudulent naturalization application. The court reasoned that Yang's actions in his wife's fraudulent entry were "inextricably intertwined" with his own efforts to secure entry and must be considered part of the initial fraud, while his application must be considered an "extension" of that initial fraud.

Question

May the Imigration and Naturalization Service, when deciding whether to grant a discretionary waiver of deportation under the applicable provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act, take into account acts of fraud committed by an alien in connection to his entry into the United States?

Media for Immigration and Naturalization Service v. Yueh-Shaio Yang

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 15, 1996 in Immigration and Naturalization Service v. Yueh-Shaio Yang

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - November 13, 1996 in Immigration and Naturalization Service v. Yueh-Shaio Yang

William H. Rehnquist:

The opinion of the Court in No. 95-938, INS versus Yang will be announced by Justice Scalia.

Antonin Scalia:

This case comes to us on certiorari from the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Respondent, Yueh-Shaio Yang and his wife, Hai-Hsia Yang, were born and married in the People’s Republic of China and subsequently moved to Taiwan.

In order to gain entry to the United States, they executed the following scheme: After divorcing respondent in Taiwan, Hai-Hsia, traveled to the United States in 1978 and using $60,000.00 provided by respondent, obtained a fraudulent birth certificate and passport in the name of Mary Wang, a United States citizen.

Respondent then remarried Hai-Hsia in Taiwan under her false identity and fraudulently obtained an immigrant visa to enter the United States as the spouse of a United States citizen.

In 1982, four years after his fraudulent entry, respondent submitted an application for naturalization which fraudulently stated that his wife, Mary, was a United States citizen by birth and that respondent had been lawfully admitted for permanent residence.

In 1985, while the respondent’s naturalization application was still pending, respondent and his wife obtained another divorce in order to permit her to obtain a visa under her true name, as the relative of a daughter who had obtained United States citizenship by then.

The Immigration and Naturalization Service, INS, ultimately learned of the respondents unlawful entry and in 1992 issued an order to show cause why he should not be deported.

Respondent conceited deportability but requested a waiver of deportation under Section 1251(a)(1)(H) of the Immigration and Nationality Act which permits the Attorney General to grant discretionary waivers to relatives of the United States citizens and permanent resident aliens.

The Board of Immigration Appeals denied the discretionary waiver although the Board has a general policy of not taking an alien’s entry fraud into consideration in deciding whether to waive deportation.

It regarded the various fraudulent acts here as going beyond the mere entry fraud in 1978.

The Ninth Circuit granted the respondent’s petition for review and remanded to the Board for a reweighing of the equities without consideration of respondent’s participation in the fraudulent scheme, all of which it said were inexplicably intertwined with his 1978 entry and therefore under the Board’s own policy, could not be considered.

We granted certiorari and we now reverse.

The waiver of deportation statute imposes no limitations on the factors that the Attorney General or her delegates may consider in exercising her discretion to waive deportation.

Although the INS has a policy of refusing to consider entry fraud, that policy is of its own invention and maybe interpreted within reason as it chooses.

The INS has not acted arbitrarily here.

It has rationally chosen to distinguish aliens such as respondent who engage in a pattern of immigration fraud from alien’s who commit a single isolated act of misrepresentation at the time of entry.

Thus, the decision of the Board was lawful and the judgment of the Ninth Circuit must be reversed.

The opinion is unanimous.