Another Limit on Federal Court Jurisdiction? Immigrant Access to Class-Wide Injunctive Relief
39 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2005
This article examines a statute that may embody another limit on the power of federal courts, 8 U.S.C. Section 1252(f)(1). Ultimately, resolution of the effect of this provision will implicate the ongoing scholarly debate over the constitutionality and propriety of congressional restriction of federal court review. Congress enacted this provision as a part of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA), an act that implemented sweeping changes that substantially restrict federal court review of administrative immigration decisions. Section 1252(f)(1) appears, at least at first glance, to prohibit courts from issuing class-wide injunctive relief in immigration cases. Such a restriction would be significant because federal courts have used Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 to issue class-wide injunctions to stop unconstitutional immigration practices and policies of the federal government. The Supreme Court has not yet directly interpreted this section. Taking a closer look at the text of this provision in the context of relevant Supreme Court precedent, this article suggests that the provision may not impose a broad bar against the use of class-wide injunctive relief in the immigration context and that interpreting the provision to impose such a broad bar may create a serious constitutional problem.
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