Tamayo-Tamayo v. Holder

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Immigration
  • Date Filed: 02-28-2013
  • Case #: 08-74005
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Graber for the Court; Circuit Judges Fisher and Noonan
  • Full Text Opinion

When the history of a statute does not suggest procedural interpretation, substantive interpretation applies as long as it does not render the statute superfluous or lead to absurd results. A removal order under 8 U.S.C. § 1231(a)(5) can be reinstated from its original date and is not “superseded” or invalidated because a later removal order exists.

Tamayo-Tamayo petitioned for review of the government’s reinstatement of a prior order of removal after illegally reentering the United States following two removals in 1989 and 1993. In 1993, instead of reinstating the 1989 order of removal, the government chose to seek a new order of removal. Tamayo-Tamayo reentered the United States again, and when he sought to replace his permanent resident card, the government realized he had entered illegally and reinstated his removal order pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1231(a)(5). The Court held there was no supporting argument for the assertion that the 1989 order of removal was invalidated by the 1993 order of removal. The Court also held that Tamayo-Tamayo’s entry was procedurally regular, but substantively illegal. In a previous case, the Court determined that Congress intended for the word “admissions” to mean lawful entry in the procedural sense, since the substantive meaning would “render part of the statute superfluous and also would lead to absurd results,” and because the “evolution of the statute” suggested procedural interpretation. In this case, the Court determined that there was no suggestion that Congress intended for the procedural definition to apply to “reentered the United States illegally” because the substantive sense would not lead to superfluous text or absurd result, and nothing in the history of § 1231(a)(5) suggested that Congress intended for the procedural meaning. Tamayo-Tamayo’s substantively illegal reentry met the § 1231(a)(5) requirement that he had “reentered the United States illegally,” regardless of the fact that he had deceived the border official into allowing him to enter the country. The Court also held that it did not need to decide on a possible due process violation because Tamayo-Tamayo was not prejudiced. PETITION DENIED.

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