INS v. Doherty, 502 U.S. 314 (1992)

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certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the second circuit

No. 90-925. Argued October 16, 1991—Decided January 15, 1992

Respondent Doherty, a citizen of both Ireland and the United Kingdom, was found guilty in absentia by a Northern Ireland court of, inter alia, the murder of a British officer in Northern Ireland. After petitioner Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) located him in the United States and began deportation proceedings against him, he applied for asylum under the Immigration and Nationality Act (Act), but he withdrew that application and a claim for withholding of deportation in 1986, at which time he conceded deportability and, pursuant to the Act, designated Ireland as the country to which he be deported. The Immigration Judge, over the INS' challenge to the designation, ordered deportation to Ireland, and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirmed. While an INS appeal to the Attorney General was pending, Doherty moved to reopen his deportation proceedings on the basis that the 1987 Irish Extradition Act constituted new evidence requiring reopening of his claims for withholding of deportation and asylum. The Attorney General rejected Doherty's designation, ordered him deported to the United Kingdom, and remanded his motion to reopen to the BIA. The BIA granted the motion to reopen, but the Attorney General reversed, relying on, inter alia, the independent grounds that (1) Doherty had not presented new evidence warranting reopening, and (2) he had waived his claims by withdrawing them in 1986. The Court of Appeals affirmed the order denying Doherty's designation, but held that the Attorney General had abused his discretion in denying the motion to reopen. Among other things, the court found that the Attorney General had used an incorrect legal standard in overturning the BIA's finding that Doherty had produced new material evidence and that, under INS v. Abudu, 485 U. S. 94, once an alien establishes a prima facie case for withholding of deportation and brings new evidence, the Attorney General is without discretion to deny a motion to reopen.

Held: The judgment is reversed. 908 F. 2d 1108, reversed.

The Chief Justice delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Part I, concluding that the Attorney General did not abuse his discre-

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