INS v. Chadha (1983)

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Facts: Chadha was an East Indian born in Kenya. He overstayed his student visa while in the United States. A section of the Immigration and Nationality Act gave one house of Congress the power to overturn the U.S. Attorney General's decision not to deport particular immigrants. In Chadha's case, the Attorney General determined that his deportation should be suspended. The House of Representatives, however, passed a resolution stating that the deportation "should not be suspended." Chadha challenged the House's resolution, and a Court of Appeals held that the resolution was unconstitutional because it violated the separation of powers.

Issues: Does this section of the Immigration and Nationality Act violate the separation of powers doctrine of the U.S. Constitution?

Holding: Yes. The court analyzed Chadha's challenge by looking at the terms of Article I, Section 7, of the U.S. Constitution. First, the court held that under this section, the president must approve all legislation passed by Congress. If he disapproves, he may veto the legislation. Congress may overturn the veto with a two-thirds vote. This procedure is called presentment, because it involves the legislative branch presenting legislation to the executive branch. Second, the court held that Congress' resolution was "an exercise of legislative power." Therefore, both houses of Congress should have voted on the resolution, according to the procedure of Article I, Section 7. The principle of having two separate houses or divisions of Congress is called bicameralism. The section of the Immigration and Nationality Act required neither presentment nor bicameralism for a legislative action and therefore violated the explicit language of Article I, Section 7.