BIA: NTA stops time for cancellation of removal only if it’s used to launch removal proceedings

The BIA recently returned to a critical and deceptively complicated part of cancellation of removal, the stop-time rule, with a fairly narrow but important decision. Matter of Ordaz, 26 I&N Dec. 637 (BIA 2015). Migrants are eligible for relief from removal if they can meet certain durational requirements, among other criteria. Lawful permanent residents must be able to show that they have continuously resided in the United States for at least seven years. INA § 240A(a)(2). Other migrants must show that they have been continuously physically present in the United States for at least ten [...]

9 Cir: Shifts longstanding drug paraphernalia case law to follow Supreme Court

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently held that a drug paraphernalia conviction constitutes a controlled substance offense only if the conviction involved a substance criminalized by federal drug laws. Madrigal-Barcenas v. Lynch, No. 10-72049, slip op. (9th Cir. August 10, 2015). In doing so, the Ninth Circuit adjusted a robust body of case law to conform with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Mellouli v. Lynch, 135 S. Ct. 2828 (2015), a case that I and a team of guest bloggers covered in detail on This case involved a migrant convicted of possession [...]

“Crimmigration Law” book introduction

On Tuesday, I announced that Crimmigration Law, my first book, was just published by the American Bar Association and is now available for purchase here. Today I’m making available the book’s Introduction, a twenty-page chapter detailing what the term means and where this amalgamated area of law derives from. The Introduction also identifies the many actors involved in creating and enforcing crimmigration law—from city police forces to the U.S. Supreme Court. As a hint to how Crimmigration Law begins, here are the first few paragraphs:  At its most basic, “crimmigration” law describes the [...]

“Crimmigration Law” book published

Almost seven years and over 600 updates ago, I launched this blog with the goal of creating a one-stop resource about crimmigration law developments. A year later I started teaching about crimmigration law with the goal of training the next generation of lawyers to appreciate the subtlety and importance of understanding how criminal law and immigration law intersect. At about the same time I began writing legal scholarship with the hope of tracking and shaping this emerging area of law. Today I am thrilled to announce that those countless hours of work have coalesced into Crimmigration Law, [...]

Is Texas going to make it harder for migrants to receive effective assistance of counsel?

The U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U.S. 356 (2010), holding that the Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel obligates criminal defense attorneys to inform migrant clients about the immigration consequences of conviction continues to resonate in the state courts. Just last month the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued two decisions gutting Padilla’s applicability in that state (see my analysis of those decisions here). Now, it seems, Texas may be preparing to follow Wisconsin’s lead. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the highest criminal [...]

BIA: After 9 circuits disagree, changes course on 212(h) eligibility for LPRs

No one can accuse the Board of Immigration Appeals of giving up easily. Only after nine federal circuits disagreed did the BIA finally reconsider its position on which lawful permanent residents are eligible to seek a waiver of inadmissibility under INA § 212(h). Matter of J-H-J-, 26 I&N Dec. 563 (BIA May 12, 2015). This case involved a migrant who became an LPR through adjustment of status. After being convicted of an assault offense that he conceded was an aggravated felony, he sought to readjust his status. To overcome the inadmissibility bar that resulted from his conviction, the [...]

5th Circuit: Border wave-through is an admission for cancellation purposes

By Sarah Flinn A recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that admission to the U.S. is met by a physical wave through the port of entry by an immigration official. Further, in relation to the INA provision governing cancellation of removal for lawful permanent residents, § 240A(a), the wave-through admission is valid for all immigrants, whether documented or not. Tula Rubio v. Lynch, No. 14-60183, slip op. (5th Cir. May 21, 2015). In 1992, in very common circumstances, Ramiro Constantino Tula Rubio, age 4, entered the United States as a passenger in a car [...]

Beyond Deportation: The Relationship Between Prosecutorial Discretion and Criminal Activity

By Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia This blog post will focus on a small but important portion of my new book Beyond Deportation: The Role of Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Cases and specifically the historical relationship between prosecutorial discretion and criminal activity. As a primer, prosecutorial discretion in immigration cases refers to any choice made by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) (or its predecessor, the Immigration and Naturalization Service) about whether and/or to what extent to enforce the law against a person. While deferred action is the most popular form of [...]