December 6, 2006
Supreme Court Interprets Immigration Laws
In an 8 to 1 decision, the Court addressed one of the cases discussed below, which presented the question of whether a person was not subject to mandatory deportation where federal law requires deporting those who commit "felonies," and the noncitizen commitd a crime that under state law is a felony, but under federal law is a misdemeanor. The court held that a noncitizen can't be deported for having committed a drug crime that, while a felony under state law, is only a misdemeanor under federal law. There's an article about the opinion here, and the opinion itself Lopez v. Gonzales, No. 05-547 is here. Justice Thomas dissented.
The language at issue, a section of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides that “[a]ny alien who is convicted of an aggravated felony at any time after admission is deportable.” 8 U. S. C. §1227(a)(2)(A)(iii). More about it later today once I've read it.
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