Elliot Watson


Using Duran Gonzales as an example, this Comment discusses how courts determine when and if conflicting rules of law should be applied retroactively to aliens. Specifically, it argues that the holding in Nunez-Reyes and its use of the Chevron Oil test should be applied broadly to limit the retroactive application of law in certain immigration cases. Part II of this Comment gives a brief overview of Supreme Court retroactivity jurisprudence, the discretionary application of adjudicative retroactivity as described in Chevron Oil, and the Court’s recent shift toward a more conservative approach. Part III discusses how administrative law affects that framework and how courts apply it after the Supreme Court, in Chevron USA and Brand X, adopted a policy of extreme agency deference. Part IV discusses the Ninth Circuit’s Nunez-Reyes decision. Part V traces the complex procedural and factual history of Duran Gonzales as well as the Ninth Circuit and BIA cases surrounding it. Part VI discusses the Ninth Circuit’s recent decision of Duran Gonzales III and explains why it failed to apply Nunez-Reyes appropriately. Finally, Part VII offers a brief conclusion.