U.S. Supreme Court
Immigration — family preferences
8 U.S.C. 1153(h)(3) does not unambiguously entitle all aged-out derivative beneficiaries to automatic conversion and priority date retention.
Because §1153(h)(3) does not speak unambiguously to the issue here, a court must defer to the BIA’s reasonable interpretation. See Chevron U. S. A. Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 U. S. 837, 844. The first clause of §1153(h)(3) states a condition that encompasses every aged-out beneficiary of a family preference petition. The second clause, however, does not easily cohere with the first. It prescribes a remedy that can apply to only a subset of the beneficiaries described in the first clause. This remedial prescription directs immigration officials to take the alien’s petition and convert it from a category benefitting a child to an appropriate category for adults, without any change in the petition, including its sponsor, or any new filing. Moreover, this conversion is to be “automati[c]”—that is, one involving no additional decisions, contingencies, or delays. Thus, the only aliens who may benefit from §1153(h)(3)’s back half are those for whom automatic conversion is possible.
695 F.3d 1003, reversed and remanded.
Kagan, J.; Roberts, C.J., concurring; Alito, J., dissenting; Sotomayor, J., dissenting.