INS v. St. Cyr

533 U.S. 289 (2001)


The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) both contain comprehensive amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). P is a citizen of Haiti who was admitted to the United States as a lawful permanent resident in 1986. Ten years later, P pled guilty in a state court to a charge of selling a controlled substance. P was now deportable. Under pre-AEDPA law applicable at the time of his conviction, P would have been eligible for a waiver of deportation at the discretion of the Attorney General. Removal proceedings against him were not commenced until April 10, 1997, after both AEDPA and IIRIRA became effective. The Attorney General then interpreted those statutes to mean he no longer has the discretion to grant such a waiver. P filed a habeas corpus petition alleging that the restrictions on discretionary relief from deportation contained in the 1996 statutes do not apply to removal proceedings brought against an alien who pled guilty to a deportable crime before their enactment. The District Court agreed. The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed. D appealed.