US Supreme Court Restricts Deportations of Immigrant Felons

US Supreme Court Restricts Deportations of Immigrant Felons

Conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch on Tuesday sided with the Supreme Court's liberal bloc and cast the deciding vote against the Trump Administration in an immigration case.

The court upheld a 2015 lower court ruling that the Immigration and Nationality Act provision requiring Dimaya's deportation created uncertainty over which crimes may be considered violent, risking arbitrary enforcement in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

After the conservative Gorsuch was appointed to the court, the justices heard the case re-argued, and Gorsuch joined the court's more liberal justices in finding the clause too vague.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday erected new bars to deporting legal immigrants for crimes they've committed here in the USA, saying the part of law that set the level of criminal behavior deserving removal is too vague.

The court's 5-4 decision concerns a provision of federal immigration law that defines a "crime of violence".

The Supreme Court agreed with the 9th circuit.

The decision is a loss for the Trump administration which, like Barack Obama's administration before it, had defended the provision at issue.

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Dimaya came to the United States from the Philippines as a legal permanent resident in 1992 at age 13. In 2007 and 2009, he pleaded no contest to charges of residential burglary in California.

The law, although covering crimes that include actual violence, attempted violence or a threat of violence, goes on to add in crimes that involve "a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another".

Immigration judges would have allowed Dimaya to be deported, but the federal appeals court in San Francisco struck down the provision as unconstitutionally vague. "The truth is, no one knows", Gorsuch said in his concurring opinion.

The decision does not interfere with the government's ability to deport people who are convicted of clearly violent crimes, including murder and rape, as well as drug trafficking and other serious offenses.

James Garcia Dimaya is a lawful resident who came to the US from the Philippines at age 13.

The case was initially argued in January 2017 by a court that was short a member because of Scalia's death and the refusal of Senate Republicans to act on Obama's nomination of Judge Merrick Garland.

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