INS v. National Center for Immigrants' Rights, Inc., 502 U.S. 183, 10 (1991)

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Opinion of the Court

that the Attorney General's discretion under this section was limited, the Court of Appeals relied on two cases in which we have interpreted similarly broad language in this statutory scheme: United States v. Witkovich, 353 U. S. 194 (1957), and Carlson v. Landon, 342 U. S. 524 (1952).

In Witkovich, we considered the scope of the Attorney General's statutory authority to require deportable aliens to provide the INS with information about their "circumstances, habits, associations and activities, and other information . . . deemed fit and proper." 8 CFR 242.3(c)(3) (1956). Although the challenged regulation seemed clearly authorized by the words of the statute, the Court concluded that Congress had only intended to authorize "questions reasonably calculated to keep the Attorney General advised regarding the continued availability for departure of aliens whose deportation is overdue." 353 U. S., at 202. Relying on Witkovich, the Court of Appeals held that 1252(a) should also be given a narrow construction.

This case differs from Witkovich in important ways. Writing for the Court, Justice Frankfurter explained the reasons for placing a limiting construction on the statutory language:

"The language of 242(d)(3), if read in isolation and literally, appears to confer upon the Attorney General unbounded authority to require whatever information he deems desirable of aliens whose deportation has not been effected within six months after it has been commanded. The Government itself shrinks from standing on the breadth of these words. But once the tyranny

against him and detained until final determination of his deportability. Any court of competent jurisdiction shall have authority to review or revise any determination of the Attorney General concerning detention, release on bond, or parole pending final decision of deportability upon a conclusive showing in habeas corpus proceedings that the Attorney General is not proceeding with such reasonable dispatch as may be warranted by the particular facts and circumstances in the case of any alien to determine deportability."

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