Pereira v. Sessions: A Jurisdictional Surprise for Immigration Courts

45 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2018 Last revised: 12 Apr 2019

See all articles by Kit Johnson

Kit Johnson

University of Oklahoma - College of Law

Date Written: March 15, 2019


On June 21, 2, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a bombshell opinion regarding immigration court procedure: Pereira v. Sessions. On its face, the case is a boon for certain noncitizens seeking relief from deportation. Yet, as this Essay explains, Pereira’s implications are far greater. Although the Court’s opinion never mentions jurisdiction, Pereira necessarily means that immigration courts lack subject-matter jurisdiction over virtually every case filed in the last three years, plus an unknown number of earlier-filed cases. This situation arises from the chronic failure of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to comply with the law in commencing deportation proceedings. With the clarity afforded by Pereira, the result is that these pending removal cases should be dismissed.

Keywords: Immigration, Jurisdiction, Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Periera, Procedure

JEL Classification: K1, K37, K41

Suggested Citation

Johnson, Kit, Pereira v. Sessions: A Jurisdictional Surprise for Immigration Courts (March 15, 2019). Columbia Human Rights Law Review, Vol. 50, 2018, Available at SSRN:

Kit Johnson (Contact Author)

University of Oklahoma - College of Law ( email )

300 Timberdell Road
Norman, OK 73019
United States


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