Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Immigration on the Docket for Supreme Court in 2012 Term

The U.S. Supreme Court had a full slate of immigration decisions in the 2011 Term.  Next Term already has two immigration cases on the docket.

Last April, the Supreme Court granted cert in Moncrieffe v. Holder.   The question presented is whether a conviction under a provision of state law that encompasses but is not limited to the distribution of a small amount of marijuana without remuneration constitutes an "aggravated felony" for purposes of the U.S. immigration laws. 

Once again, as in two of the decisions from this Term, the Court will grapple with the criminal grounds for removal under the U.S. immigration laws.  This should not be a surprise given that the Obama administration has deported record numbers of noncitizens and, through programs like Secure Communities, has focused on those who get caught up in the criminal justice system.

The Court also has granted cert in a case (Chaidez v. United States) raising the issue of the retroactive application of the Supreme Court's 2010 decision in Padilla v. Kentucky, which requires attorneys to inform noncitizens of the immigration consequences of criminal convictions in making plea arrangements. 

Supreme Court specialists Goldstein & Russell PC is counsel of record for Petitioner in Moncrieffe v. Holder and on the team of attorneys representing the Petitioner in Chaidez v. United States.   Jeffrey L. Fisher Stanford Law School, Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, is counsel of record in Chaidez v. United States

If I had to make predictions on the immigration cases that the Court is likely to take in coming years, I would guess the following:

1.  Cases like Moncrieffe involving removals based on criminal convixtions for the reasons stated above (needless to say, there are an awful lot of cases that could fall into this category);

2.  Cases involving challenges to the constitutionality of state immigration enforcement laws, such as Alabama's and Hazleton, Pennsylvania's, which go beyond Arizona's S.B. 1070; and

3.  Cases that apply and test the limits of the Court's pathbreaking decision in Padilla v. Kentucky.



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