Restriction on Native American Student's Hair Length Infringed Religious Freedom, and Immigration Matters

By FindLaw Staff on July 12, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A.A. v. Needville Indep. Sch. Dist., No. 09-20091, involved an action by a Native American boy and his parents challenging a school district's requirement that he wear his long hair in a bun on top of his head or in a braid tucked into his shirt.  The court of appeals affirmed judgment for plaintiff, holding that the restriction violated the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act because plaintiff demonstrated a sincere religious belief in wearing his hair uncovered and visibly long.

Anderson v. Napolitano, No. 08-60494, concerned a petition for review of the Department of Homeland Security's reinstatement of a removal order against petitioner pursuant to 8 U.S.C. section 1231(a)(5).  The court of appeals denied the petition on the ground that petitioner's passport stamp, which simply indicated she was admitted through an immigration check point, was not evidence that the Attorney General consented to petitioner applying for readmission.

Nolos v. Holder, No. 08-60786, involved a petition for review of the BIA's decision to uphold the immigration judge's (IJ) order of removal and the BIA's subsequent denial of petitioner's separate motions to reconsider and to reopen.  The Fifth Circuit denied the petition on the grounds that 1) given that petitioner's parents did not acquire U.S. citizenship by virtue of their birth in the Philippines when it was a U.S. territory, petitioner could not have derived U.S. citizenship from them and was therefore removable if he was found to have been convicted of an aggravated felony; and 2) given that petitioner's term of imprisonment was over one year, the record of conviction established that petitioner was convicted of a theft offense pursuant to 8 U.S.C. section 1101(a)(43)(G) and is removable as an aggravated felon under 8 U.S.C. section 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii).

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