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Salazar-Haro v. I.N.S.

September 13, 1996







DATED DECEMBER 19, 1995 (BIA No. A38-267-921) Submitted Pursuant To Third Circuit LAR 34.1(a)

Before: MANSMANN, SCIRICA, and WEIS, Circuit Judges

WEIS, Circuit Judge.

August 6, 1996

Filed September 13, 1996)


After this petition for review of a deportation order was filed with us, Congress enacted a statute providing that such matters would not be subject to review by any court. In the absence of language setting an effective date for the statute, we conclude that it became law on the day of enactment and withdrew our jurisdiction. Accordingly, we will dismiss the petition.

Petitioner, a native and citizen of Peru, entered the United States in 1978 and became a permanent resident in 1983. In June 1993, he was convicted on charges of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and of aiding and abetting and was sentenced to forty-two months imprisonment. His wife Amada Morales, the mother of his three sons, was a co-defendant. She pleaded guilty and was deported to Nicaragua in 1994.

Petitioner was released from prison after thirty-seven months, and thereafter, was ordered to show cause why he should not be deported. After a hearing, the Immigration Judge found that petitioner had been rehabilitated, was truly remorseful, had obtained a high school equivalency diploma, was caring for his three minor sons, who were United States citizens, and was gainfully employed. The Immigration Judge further found that petitioner had cooperated with the government in connection with his drug activities.

Weighing against these equities, however, the Immigration Judge noted that petitioner had started selling drugs in 1987. After a year absence from the country, beginning in the middle of 1988, petitioner returned to the United States and resumed drug trafficking. After the death of the individual for whom he had sold drugs originally, petitioner made new contacts and began a business of his own. By his own testimony, he sold over ten kilograms of cocaine. "[W]hile this Court has heavily weighed the consequences of this decision on three U.S. citizen children," the Immigration Judge concluded that "the well being of the community of the United States would not best be served by allowing [petitioner] to remain in the United States." After reviewing the merits of the case, the Board of Immigration Appeals denied Salazar-Haro's appeal.

The petition for review was filed in this court on January 17, 1996. At that time, 8 U.S.C. Section(s) 1105a(a) provided for judicial review of all final orders of deportation. On April 24, 1996, the President signed into law the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, Pub.L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214 (1996). Title IV, section 440(a) of the Act, codified at 8 U.S.C. Section(s) 1105a(a)(10), states: "Any final order of deportation against an alien who is deportable by reason of having committed a criminal offense covered in section 1251(a)(2)(A)(iii), (B), (C), or (D) of this title, or any offense covered by section 1251(a)(2)(A)(ii) of this title for which both predicate offenses are covered by section 1251(a)(2)(A)(i) of this title, shall not be subject to review by any court." *fn1

In view of this statutory provision, the INS contends that we should dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction. Petitioner points out that the Act does not specify the effective date of the pertinent section, and that generally, statutes are not applied retroactively. He also notes that precluding judicial review of administrative actions can give rise to constitutional concerns.

There can be little doubt that Congress has the power to deprive a Court of Appeals of jurisdiction previously granted over certain categories of cases. Ex parte McCardle, 74 U.S. 506 (1868). The issue before us is whether such action may retroactively affect cases commenced before the repealer, including those at various stages in the appellate process.

In McCardle, a statute permitting appeals in habeas corpus matters from the Circuit Courts to the Supreme Court was repealed after the case had been argued before the Supreme Court, but before entry of judgment. The Court held that "no judgment could be rendered in a suit after the repeal of the act under which it was brought and prosecuted." Id. at 514. "Jurisdiction is power to declare the law, and when it ceases to ...

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