Immigration took center stage among federal criminal cases during FY 2011-12


A new report indicates that federal law enforcement agents, prosecutors, and courts are significantly involved in regulating immigration law through the criminal process. Mark Motivans, Federal Justice Statistics, 2011-2012 (Jan. 2015). By overall historical standards, this is quite anomalous, but it is in line with the trend we’ve seen in recent years (see my analysis of parallel data for fiscal year 2010). Law enforcement investigations and arrests for alleged immigration law violations are at eye-catching rates, with the bulk of those arrested individuals soon finding themselves in federal [...]

BIA: Sexual abuse of a minor based on statutory rape of 16-or 17-year-old must include meaningful age differential

The Board of Immigration Appeals held that a statutory rape offense must include, as an element, a meaningful age difference between the abuser and victim in order to be classified as sexual abuse of a minor, a type of aggravated felony. Matter of Esquivel-Quintana, 26 I&N Dec. 469 (BIA 2015). Board Member Malphrus wrote the panel’s opinion. This case involved an LPR convicted of unlawful intercourse with a minor more than three years younger, a violation of Cal. Penal Code § 261.5(c). An IJ concluded that this offense constituted sexual abuse of a minor under INA § 101(a)(43)(A). On [...]

Supreme Court agrees to decide whether immigration deadline is flexible

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would decide whether a regulatory deadline by which motions to reopen must be filed could be bent. Mata v. Holder, 14-185, 2015 WL 213642 (Jan. 16, 2015). The Court’s decision to grant the petition for writ of certiorari last Friday was understandably clouded by news that it also agreed to hear a collection of cases involving equal marriage rights. Though less prominent, Mata is of significance to anyone involved in immigration law. This case arises from a time limit on when individuals in removal proceedings must file a motion to reopen. [...]

Rewriting Immigration Narratives

How do we talk about immigration and immigrants? Who do we think of—and who do we forget—when we use those terms? What images does immigration detention conjure and what impact does it have on the people caught in the immigration detention and deportation pipeline? On Wednesday, January 21 (tomorrow), advocates and scholars from the Denver area will address these and related topics at the University of Denver. "Rewriting Immigration Narratives,” as the event is being billed, will include two panels. I’ll be moderating the first panel, “Untold Stories of Family Detention and Deportation,” [...]

Mellouli symposium continues: Jimson Weed

The online symposium on Mellouli v. Holder that launched Tuesday continues today with a musical interlude by Andrea Saenz, a Clinical Teaching Fellow at Cardozo Law’s Immigration Justice Clinic. Here’s Andrea’s original Jimson Weed, set to the tune of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.” * * * It was more like a awful dream from a horror scene Deport an LPR math teacher based on a sock Now we’re back, seeking help, from the Court Don’t care what’s in the sock….Close enough, said the 8th Circuit Court He told me that he was charged by ICE, they were not so nice Said you had drugs and [...]

Online symposium on crimmigration law: Supreme Court hears Mellouli v. Holder

Can a sock result in removal? That’s the practical question that the Supreme Court will have contend with when it hears oral arguments in Mellouli v. Holder tomorrow. To clarify the case, is launching an online symposium today featuring several practitioners and scholars with special insight into the key issues Mellouli raises. Today’s contributors—Alina Das, Jennifer Lee Koh, Nancy Morawetz, Maureen Sweeney, and Craig Shagin—represent a cross-section of academics and practitioners who have followed the issues that Mellouli raises for some time. All bring unique [...]

Revisionist History: The Government’s Latest Attempt to Ignore the Categorical Approach in Mellouli v. Holder

By Alina Das For the fourth time since 2006, the Supreme Court will be considering whether a minor drug offense must render a lawful permanent resident deportable from his home and family in the United States. In Mellouli v. Holder, the Court will be addressing whether Mr. Mellouli’s misdemeanor conviction for possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia—in this case, a sock—under Kansas law must be considered a controlled substance offense triggering deportation. Federal law—and more specifically, federal drug schedules—define what types of substances may trigger this ground of [...]

Rethinking Removability for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (aka a Sock)

By Jennifer Lee Koh In Mellouli v. Holder, the Supreme Court will again clarify the reach of the nation’s drug-related immigration provisions, as well as speak to the proper application and scope of the categorical approach in immigration law. In this case, the Court will determine what the government must prove to impose immigration consequences (such as deportation and detention) on noncitizens with convictions for possession of drug paraphernalia. Section 237(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) renders noncitizens who have already been lawfully admitted to the U.S. (such as [...]