In Vartelas v. Holder, the Court considered whether the 1996 law changes retroactively affected the ability of lawful permanent residents to make brief visits abroad. Prior to the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRAIRA), permanent residents could make brief trips abroad, knowing that upon return, they would still be treated as residents. Under the new statute, permanent residents with minor criminal offenses must prove eligibility to be readmitted to the United States.
NIJC argued in its amicus brief that individualized reliance is not a requirement for courts to presume that a statute should not be applied retroactively, because that would mean that a statute means different things for different people. Justice Ginsburg wrote for a 6-3 majority, ruling in favor of Mr Vartelas, and finding that the statute should not be applied retroactively to pre-1996 convictions. NIJC's Chuck Roth and Brian Murray and Warren Postman of Jones Day were counsel for amicus.