INS v. Hector
Annotate this Case
479 U.S. 85 (1986)
U.S. Supreme Court
INS v. Hector, 479 U.S. 85 (1986)
Immigration and Naturalization Service v. Hector
Decided November 17, 1986
479 U.S. 85
Respondent, a native and citizen of Dominica, West Indies, remained in the United States illegally after her authorization to stay expired in 1975. Two of her minor nieces, United States citizens, came from Dominica to live with her in 1983 to attend school. In deportation proceedings instituted against her in 1983, respondent conceded deportability, but applied for suspension of deportation pursuant to § 244(a)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which authorizes the Attorney General, in his discretion, to suspend deportation and to adjust the illegal alien's status to that of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence, if, inter alia, deportation would result in extreme hardship to the alien or to "his spouse, parent, or child, who is a citizen of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence." An Immigration Judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals found that respondent could not demonstrate extreme hardship to herself or to the specified persons. The Board also determined, as a factual matter, that respondent's separation from her nieces would not constitute extreme hardship to herself, and, as a legal matter, that a niece is not a "child" within § 244(a)(1)'s meaning. On review, the Court of Appeals held that the Board erred in not giving sufficient consideration to whether respondent's relationship with her nieces was the functional equivalent of a parent-child relationship. Remanding the case, the court instructed the Board to determine whether there was such a relationship, and, if so, whether respondent's nieces would experience extreme hardship as a result of her deportation.
Held: The Board is not required under § 244(a)(1) to consider the hardship to a third party other than a spouse, parent, or child, as defined by the Act. The definition of the term "child" in § 101(b)(1) of the Act is particularly exhaustive. Even if respondent's relationship with her nieces closely resembles a parent-child relationship, Congress, through the statute's plain language, precluded the functional approach to defining the term "child."
Certiorari granted; 782 F.2d 1028, reversed.