Immigration and Naturalization Service v. Chandha

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Plaintiff

Chandha

Defendant

Immigration and Naturalization Service

Facts

Plaintiff came to the USA on a nonimmigrant student visa and overstayed his visit. Via the Immigration and Naturalization Act (Act) Section 242(b) a deportation hearing was held. After admitting his overstay, the hearing was adjourned and plaintiff was allowed to file an application for suspension of deportation under section 244(a)(1) of the Act. This section states that the attorney general can suspend the deportation for certain reasons. The suspension was granted. Next, as section 244(c)(1) of the Act requires, the details of the suspension were sent to Congress for review. Section 244(c)(2) of the act allowed Congress to veto the attorney general's opinion.

In December of 1975 the Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and International Law introduced a resolution to oppose Chadha's suspension. A resolution to this effect was discharged by the committee and submitted to the House for vote. The House, without prior notice of it, voted for the resolution. The resolution was not submitted either to the Senate or to the President.

Issue

Is the legislative veto constitutional?

Holding

The legislative veto is not constitutional because it Article I of the constitution.

Discussion

Presentment Clause

The founders felt that it was necessary to have the president in the law making process and therefore added the language that every "order, resolution, or vote" should be "presented to the President."

Bicameralism

The founders also thought this was important given that the Senate was created to protect the interests of the smaller states in the USA. There are four explicit ways the constitution says that one of the houses of Congress can act independently. This case is not one of them. In this case the house resolution has the effect of "altering the legal rights, duties and relations of persons ... all outside the legislative branch ... Congress has acted and its action has altered Chandha's status." To change this status, there would need to be a passage by the majority of both Houses and presentment to the President.