INS v. Yueh-Shaio Yang, 519 U.S. 26 (1996)

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

No. 95-938. Argued October 15, 1996—Decided November 13, 1996

Respondent and his wife, former Taiwan residents, executed elaborate fraudulent schemes to gain entry to the United States and, later, to obtain citizenship for respondent. While respondent'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 as excludable at the time of entry. He conceded that he was deportable and filed a request for a waiver of deportation under 8 U. S. C. 1251(a)(1)(H). In affirming the Immigration Judge's denial of this request, the Board of Immigration Appeals concluded that respondent was statutorily eligible for a waiver, but denied it as a matter of discretion. In vacating and remanding for further proceedings, the Ninth Circuit held that the Board abused its discretion by considering as adverse factors, first, respondent's participation in his wife's fraudulent entry and, second, his fraudulent naturalization application. The court reasoned that his acts in the former regard 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.

Held: In deciding whether to grant a waiver under 1251(a)(1)(H), the

Attorney General (or her delegate, the INS) may take into account acts of fraud committed by the alien in connection with his entry into the United States. The relevant statutory language establishes certain prerequisites to eligibility for a waiver, but imposes no limitations on the factors that the INS may consider in determining who, among the class of eligible aliens, should be granted relief. Cf., e. g., Jay v. Boyd, 351 U. S. 345, 354. Although it is the INS's settled policy to disregard entry fraud, no matter how egregious, in making the waiver determination, that policy is the INS's own invention and is not required by the statutory text. Moreover, the INS has not abused its discretion by arbitrarily disregarding its policy here; it has merely taken a narrow view of what constitutes "entry fraud." It is assuredly rational, and therefore lawful, to distinguish aliens such as respondent who engage in a pattern of immigration fraud from aliens who commit a single, isolated act of misrepresentation. Pp. 29-32.

58 F. 3d 452, reversed.

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