Case will test seriousness of SC attitude about immigration enforcement

Houston Chronicle:

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear a California case that should help clarify when legal immigrants convicted of relatively minor crimes can be automatically deported.

The case, to be argued this year or early next year, is the third case the court has accepted to interpret the Immigration and Nationality Act, which was intended to make it easier for the federal government to expel immigrants who commit crimes.

Next Tuesday, the justices will hear similar cases involving Mexican nationals convicted of drug possession — one in Texas, another in South Dakota.

The case accepted this week, Gonzales v. Duenas-Alvarez, involves a Peruvian immigrant who was convicted in 2002 and sentenced to three years in prison for aiding and abetting an auto theft.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Luis Alexander Duenas-Alvarez's conviction did not amount to a conviction for the broader crime of auto theft, which is an "aggravated felony" that triggers automatic deportation.

The U.S. government contends that the ruling was incorrect. If the justices don't overturn it, the Bush administration argues in court papers, the decision will have "a substantial effect on the administration of the immigration laws."


The Ninth Circuit decision makes no sense. If the guy is in the country illegally, that in its self should be reason enough to deport him. Giving him extra legal remedies is just silly and explains in part why it has been so difficult to control the borders. If the courts are not serious about the rule of law, it is harder for everyone else to be serious.


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