Stone v. INS, 514 U.S. 386, 14 (1995)

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Cite as: 514 U. S. 386 (1995)

Opinion of the Court

tion, or forgo reconsideration and petition for review to obtain the automatic stay. The choice is a hard one in deportation cases, in that the consequences of deportation are so final, unlike orders in some other administrative contexts. Once an alien has been deported, the courts lack jurisdiction to review the deportation order's validity. See 8 U. S. C. 1105a(c). This choice is one Congress might not have wished to impose on the alien.

An alien who had filed for agency reconsideration might seek to avoid immediate deportation by seeking a judicial stay. At oral argument, petitioner suggested a habeas corpus action as one solution to the dilemma. Even on the assumption that a habeas corpus action would be available, see 1105a(a) (Exclusiveness of procedure), the solution is unsatisfactory. In evaluating those stay applications the courts would be required to assess the probability of the alien's prevailing on review, turning the stay proceedings into collateral previews of the eventual petitions for review—indeed a preview now implicating the district court, not just the court of appeals. By inviting duplicative review in multiple courts, the normal tolling rule would frustrate, rather than promote, its stated goal of judicial economy.

From an even more fundamental standpoint, the policies of the tolling rule are at odds with Congress' policy in adopting the judicial review provisions of the INA. The tolling rule reflects a preference to postpone judicial review to ensure completion of the administrative process. Reconsideration might eliminate the need for judicial intervention, and the resultant saving in judicial resources ought not to be diminished by premature adjudication. By contrast, Congress' "fundamental purpose" in enacting 106 of the INA was "to abbreviate the process of judicial review . . . in order to frustrate certain practices . . . whereby persons subject to deportation were forestalling departure by dilatory tactics in the courts." Foti v. INS, 375 U. S. 217, 224 (1963). Congress' concern reflected the reality that "in a deportation

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