Immigration Blog

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Supreme Court’s Decision in Flores-Villar v. United States

Jun 15, 2011 | Supreme Court Litigation

In our September 22, 2010 blog post, we discussed the Supreme Court’s grant of certiorari in the case of Flores-Villar v. United States (09-5801), where it agreed to decide the question of whether children born overseas who have one U.S.-citizen parent can obtain U.S. citizenship if the citizen parent had been physically present in the U.S. for a certain period of time before the child’s birth.  Specifically, under the applicable federal immigration law, if the citizen parent is the father, the period is five years; if it is the mother, the period is one year. The Court was to decide whether this differentiation violated the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution.  The lower court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, had concluded that the differentiation did not violate the Equal Protection Clause.

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case in November of 2010.

On June 13, 2011, the Supreme Court issued a PER CURIAM split decision (4-4) in the case, in which it affirmed the Ninth Circuit’s decision finding no violation of the Equal Protection Clause.  Justice Elena Kagan did not participate in the decision.

Ruchi Thaker