In the years following Joel Judulang’s parents’ arrival in the U.S., they became naturalized citizens. However, they failed to filed the proper paperwork to qualify their then 8-year-old son for citizenship.
More than two decades ago he was involved in a altercation that resulted in a person being shot and killed. He was arrested and pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter. And in 2005, an immigration judge ruled that Judulang was removable and the Board of Immigration Appeals dismissed his claims that he received derivative U.S. citizenship through his parents.
Earlier this year, it was argued that the circuit courts are split three ways as to whether lawful permanent residents can seek discretionary relief from removal after they are rendered as such through certain guilty pleas. Under current guidelines, an immigrant in Judulang’s situation must leave and re-enter the United States after their conviction to seek relief under former Section 212(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
This week, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Judulang’s case in Los Angeles where he is currently out on bail.