U.S. Supreme Court Hears Sessions v. Dimaya

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Sessions v. Dimaya

In early October, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Sessions v. Dimaya, a constitutional challenge to a criminal-removal provision of U.S. immigration law. The high court first heard argument in Sessions v. Dimaya last term, when the court was short one justice following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. As the court appeared divided on this case last term, they opted to restore the case to the court’s calendar for this fall. The Immigration and Nationality Act’s (INA) “residual clause,” located at 18 U.S.C. § 16(b), defines “crime of violence” as an “aggravated felony” that subjects an immigrant to mandatory removal from the U.S. The case stemmed from James Garcia Dimaya’s two burglary convictions, neither of which involved any sort of violence. An immigration court found that Dimaya was subject to mandatory deportation since he had been convicted of “crimes of violence.” The 9 th Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed, finding that the residual clause was void for vagueness and rejecting the immigration court’s interpretation of the INA provision. The federal government argued that it traditionally has had broad discretion in enforcing immigration laws. Deputy Solicitor General Edwin Kneedler defended the constitutionality of § 16(b), arguing that the vagueness test as applied to an immigration law is less than stringent than as applied to a criminal law. On the other hand, Dimaya’s attorney, E. Joshua Rosenkranz, relied on Johnson v. United States, as did the 9 th Circuit, for the premise that § 16(b) is unconstitutionally vague. Rosenkranz discussed the standard for vagueness in civil statutes, and argued that a vagueness analysis involved procedural rather than substantive due process, a contention with which Justice Alito disagreed. Finally, Rosenkranz distinguished between a “crime of violence” and a “crime of moral turpitude” in terms of a constitutional vagueness analysis. At Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C., we have represented the interests of countless clients in the state of California who are facing deportation proceedings, but who wish to remain with their families in the United States. Cases currently being heard before the U.S. Supreme Court and other appellate courts nationwide may have a significant impact on the outcome of your case, depending on the circumstances. We keep abreast of any new legal developments that can help our clients in any way. We will aggressively investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding your case, and help you settle upon the option that is best calculated to allow you and your family to live where you choose. Contact our experienced deportation defense attorneys today, and learn how we can help.
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