The US Supreme Court has ruled against an Indian citizen who has spent decades in the US and faces deportation after checking the wrong box on a driver's licence application.
The case concerns Pankaj Kumar S Patel, a citizen of India who entered the US unlawfully in 1992 and was seeking to become a lawful permanent resident. In 2008, while his petition to adjust his status (obtaining a green card) was pending, he checked a box on a driver's licence renewal application falsely claiming that he was a US citizen.
He was later charged with making a false statement.
Although the charges against him were dropped, the department of homeland security ultimately placed him, his wife and one of his sons in removal proceedings for deportation.
Monday's Supreme Court ruling makes it more difficult for non-citizens who are in removal proceedings to get a federal court to review factual determinations that were made by an immigration court concerning relief from deportation.
The court ruled that federal courts are powerless to review immigration officials' decisions in some deportation cases, even when they have made what a dissenting justice called "egregious factual mistakes."
US Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett wrote for five conservative justices that federal courts can't review such decisions under immigration law. The US attorney general can grant protection from deportation, but people must first be eligible. In Patel's case, the result of the immigration judge's decision was that he was ineligible.
Barrett wrote in conclusion that immigration law "precludes judicial review of factual findings that underlie a denial of relief."