Deportation Standard to Get High Court Clarity

     (CN) – The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Thursday to decide whether burglary under California law meets federal “crime of violence” standards for deporting a permanent legal resident.
     James Garcia Dimaya, a citizen of the Philippines and permanent legal resident of the United States, successfully challenged the Board of Immigrations’ decision not to review a deportation order following his two burglary conviction in California.
     A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit ruled – following a Supreme Court decision in 2015 that the federal definition of “violent felony” in Armed Career Criminal Act was unconstitutionally vague – that the federal definition of a crime of violence in the Immigration and Nationality Act suffered from a similar lack of specificity and ordered the board to review Dimaya’s petition.
     Specifically, the Ninth Circuit panel noted that the “harsh consequences” of deportation – and the fact that relief available in other criminal cases isn’t available to non-citizens facing deportation – means that definitions of deportation standards must be ironclad in order to pass muster with constitutional due-process guarantees.
     But the panel found that as with the Armed Career Criminal Act’s definition of violent felony, the Immigration and Nationality Act “requires courts to 1) measure the risk by an indeterminate standard of a ‘judicially imagined “ordinary case,”‘ not by real world-facts or statutory elements and 2) determine by vague and uncertain standards when a risk is sufficiently substantial.
     “Together, under Johnson, these uncertainties render the Immigration and Nationality Act provision unconstitutionally vague,” the panel found.
     In its grant of certiorari Thursday, the high court agreed to consider whether federal immigration law’s definition of crime of violence as it pertains to removal proceedings is unconstitutionally vague.
     Per its custom, the court did not issue any comment in taking up the case.

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