10 Cir: Sentence reduction doesn’t alter period actually confined for good moral character determination

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held that the period of confinement actually served governs a determination of whether a migrant lacks good moral character even if a criminal court reduces the sentence to a period less than the time actually spent behind bars. Garcia-Mendoza v. Holder, No. 13-9531, slip op. (10th Cir. June 2, 2014). Judge Briscoe wrote the panel’s opinion. This case involved a man who overstayed a visa and, years later, was convicted of driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident. He spent 104 days in jail prior to his conviction, all of [...]

5 Cir: Sexually assaulted detainees have tough row to hoe to hold officials accountable

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit denied claims brought by women who were sexually assaulted while being transported from the notorious T. Don Hutto Residential Center, an immigration prison in central Texas. Doe v. Robertson, No. 13-50459, slip op. (5th Cir. May 6, 2014) (Stewart, Garza, and Southwick). Judge Garza wrote the panel’s opinion. This case involved complaints by several women who were detained at Hutto and sexually assaulted by Donald Dunn, an employee of the private prison company Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), while being transported by Dunn from [...]

BIA: Criminal courts decide if mental illness precludes dangerousness

The Board of Immigration Appeals held that a migrant’s mental illness cannot preclude a finding that he was convicted of a particular serious crime. Matter of G-G-S-, 26 I&N Dec. 339 (BIA July 17, 2014) (Neal, Greer, and Kendall Clark, Board members). Board member Greer wrote the panel’s decision. This case involved a lawful permanent resident with a long-running history of paranoid schizophrenia who was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon, Cal. Penal Code § 245(a)(1). To increase the likelihood that he received a fair hearing, the immigration judge presiding over his removal case [...]

Imprisoning by choice

Why Are So Many Americans In Prison? Cover

It’s long ceased to be newsworthy that the United States leads the world in incarceration or that the “war on drugs” played a pivotal role in creating the mass incarceration that defines the late twentieth century and early twenty-first century exercise of penal power. What we don’t hear about as often is how exactly we got to this point and whether it protects our communities. And almost never do we here about how mass incarceration is playing out in the crimmigration world. In a meticulously researched, accessible tome, Why Are So Many Americans in Prison?, Steven Raphael from UC Berkeley [...]

BIA: Important development in categorical approach analysis & firearms offense

The BIA issued an important opinion detailing the latest turn in the categorical approach analysis. Specifically addressing the crime of violence type of aggravated felony and the firearms offense basis of removal, Matter of Chairez, 26 I&N Dec. 349 (BIA 2014) (Pauley, Malphrus, and Greer, Board Members), promises to affect crimmigration law analyses across the board. Board member Pauley wrote the panel’s opinion. This case involved an LPR convicted of violating Utah’s felony discharge of a firearm offense, Utah Code § 76-10-508.1. DHS successfully argued before an immigration judge [...]

Crimmigration.com’s new look

After a short break, crImmigration.com is back with a great new look. The redesigned site continues to provide the analysis that has made the blog a go-to source of information for information about the intersection of criminal and immigration law, but in a format that is much easier on users. I will continue to update the blog twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday mornings as I’ve done for over five years. All of the old posts are available online and can be located using the search function on the right side of this and every page. You can quickly learn more about me, César Cuauhtémoc [...]

Immigration detainer workshop

Immigration detainers are a key feature of current-day crimmigration law enforcement. They enable ICE to identify and apprehend potentially removable individuals who come into contact with local law enforcement agencies across the United States. In recent years, ICE has used detainers quite vigorously. From October 2011 to August 2013, the agency issued 436,478 detainers. Immigration detainers essentially ask local law enforcement agencies such as sheriffs’ offices to hold a potentially removable migrant for up to 48 hours after the end of the criminal matter. For example, 48 hours after a [...]

Latina/o immigrant involvement in violent crime

Despite the oft-repeated claims that immigrants commit more crime than the native-born, a developing body of criminological research indicates that the opposite is true: immigrants tend to commit less crime than the native-born. A couple of articles that I recently came across bolster this conclusion. In Incorporating Ethnic-Specific Measures of Immigration in the Study of Lethal Violence, Jacob I. Stowell and Ramiro Martinez, Jr. examine homicide data in Miami, a city with large Latina/o populations. 13 Homicide Studies 315 (2009). They conclude that “at least in the city of Miami, Latino [...]