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U.S. Supreme Court

Hintopoulos v. Shaughnessy, 353 U.S. 72 (1957)

United States ex rel. Hintopoulos v. Shaughnessy

No. 205

Argued March 4, 1957

Decided March 25, 1957

353 U.S. 72


Petitioners, husband and wife, entered the United States in 1951 as alien seamen, and remained unlawfully after expiration of their limited lawful stay. In November, 1951, a child was born to them -- an American citizen by birth. In January, 1952, petitioners applied for suspension of deportation under §19(c) of the Immigration Act of 1917, which conditionally authorizes suspension of a deportation which "would result in serious economic detriment to a citizen . . . who is the . . . minor child of such deportable alien." The Board of Immigration Appeals found that petitioners were eligible for relief but, as a matter of administrative discretion, denied suspension of deportation, relying mainly on the fact that petitioners had established no roots or ties in this country.

Held: there was no error in the decision of the Board. Pp. 353 U. S. 73-79.

(a) The Board applied the correct legal standards in deciding whether petitioners met the statutory prerequisites for suspension of deportation. P. 353 U. S. 77.

(b) Suspension of deportation under the statute is a matter of discretion and of administrative grace, not mere eligibility; discretion must be exercised even though statutory prerequisites have been met. P. 353 U. S. 77.

(c) It was not an abuse of discretion to withhold relief in this case, since the reasons relied on by the Hearing Officer and the Board were neither capricious nor arbitrary. P. 353 U. S. 77.

(d) It was not improper or arbitrary for the Board, in exercising its discretion, to take into account the congressional policy underlying the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, though that Act was inapplicable to this case. P. 353 U. S. 78.

(e) The conclusion that the Board, in exercising its discretion, may take into account the current policies of Congress is fortified by the fact that § 19(c) provides for close congressional supervision over suspensions of deportation. Pp. 353 U. S. 78-79.

233 F.2d 705, affirmed. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 353 U. S. 73

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