Supreme Court decision reinforces US deportation policy

The United States Supreme Court has solidly backed Reagan administration immigration-deportation policy, voting 8 to 0 Tuesday not to order further government review in the case of a man seeking to avoid being returned to his native Ghana. In so doing, the court also reinforced the primacy of executive authority in this area.

Assibi Abudu, a licensed physician now living in California and married to a US citizen, maintained that he would be persecuted, or even face death, if sent back to his homeland.

Mr. Abudu first entered the US as a nonimmigrant student in 1965. He returned to Ghana and later reentered the US in 1973, graduating from medical school at the University of Southern California.

Seven years ago, immigration officials sought to deport Abudu after he was convicted on a drug charge. The Ghanaian tried unsuccessfully to get the government to reopen his case.

The Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals, however, ordered a government review board to reconsider granting him asylum after hearing testimony that Abudu could be considered a political dissident - and dealt with harshly - by Ghana's military dictator, Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings.

US Solicitor General Charles Fried argued before the Supreme Court that the federal appellate panel should have deferred to the ruling of the Board of Immigration Appeals.

Writing for the court, Associate Justice John Paul Stevens said that those seeking to reopen deportation cases need to prove that immigration officials used poor judgment in denying asylum.

Justice Stevens said: ``There is strong public interest in bringing litigation to a close as promptly as is consistent with the interest in giving the adversaries a fair opportunity to develop and present their respective cases.''

The jurist added that the court had ``no hesitation in concluding that the Board of Immigration Appeals did not abuse its discretion when it held that Abudu had not reasonably explained his failure to apply for asylum prior to the completion of the initial deportation proceeding.''

Newly appointed Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy did not participate in this ruling.

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