On two consecutive days in October, border patrol agents stopped Ms. Jenkins and arrested her each time for concealing two illegal aliens in her car. No charges were filed although Jenkins admitted to the agents she was paid to smuggle aliens. In January, three months later, she and her husband attempted to enter the United States and border patrol arrested them in their car for importing marijuana. Indicted for importation, the defendant testified at trial she was unaware of the marijuana concealed in the car because she believed she was smuggling illegal aliens. Based on this testimony, and while the jury was deliberating, the U.S. Attorney indicted her for smuggling aliens based on the October events.
Congress has repeatedly attempted to strip jurisdiction of immigration cases from federal courts in general and the 9th Circuit in particular. And, in 2006 the Supreme Court reversed the 9th Circuit (again) in Gonzales v. Thomas, 547 U.S. 183 (2006), writing . . . “a court of appeals is not generally empowered to conduct a [new] inquiry into the matter [deportation] and to reach its own conclusions based on such an inquiry.” In effect, the Court reprimanded the 9th Circuit for substituting its own opinion in lieu of the Immigration Judge (IJ). Here a few more examples of 9th Circuit reversals of Immigration Court judges: July & August 2007: Gomez v. Gonzales, 498 F.3d 1050 (9th Cir.2007): In petitioning for cancellation of removal, petitioner filed an untimely document in support of her petition and, accordingly, the IJ refused to accept it. The 9th Circuit said the IJ did not give a “reasoned decision” for his ruling. How much “reason” is necessary to explain a rule that requires timely filing of a document? Reversed.