New Ruling on Crimes that Can Lead to Automatic Deportation

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New Ruling on Crimes that Can Lead to Automatic Deportation

Supreme Court Limits Crimes Leading to Near-Automatic Deportation

Automatic Deportation

There is a new ruling from the Supreme Court that limits the crimes that can lead to near-automatic deportation, President Biden is proposing significant changes to legal immigration and asylum law, and World Refugee Day are our topics for today.

We have many exciting topics to cover in this article, so let’s begin talking about a new Supreme Court ruling that will limit the crimes that could get an immigrant near-automatic deportation. 

On Thursday, June 10th, the Supreme Court issued a decision in a criminal case that will immediately impact immigration law. This decision set limits the types of crimes that can be considered an “aggravated felony” and could be ground for deportation.

If you have immigration concerns, don’t hesitate to connect with a trusted New Jersey immigration attorney. Call us at 888-695-6169 to schedule a consultation today.

What is Aggravated Felony?

First, what is an “aggravated felony”?  An “aggravated felony” is a term used to describe a category of offenses carrying particularly harsh immigration consequences for noncitizens convicted of such crimes.

When a non-U.S. citizen is convicted of an “aggravated felony,” regardless of their immigration status, they are prohibited from receiving most forms of relief that would spare them from deportation, including asylum, and from being readmitted to the United States in the future. If this happens, an immigration judge has an obligation to order that person’s deportation. It won’t matter how long the person has lived in the United States, whether they have close family in the United States and deep ties to the community or whether they have rehabilitated.

And despite how harsh the name sounds, an “aggravated felony” does not require the crime to be aggravated or even a felony. Instead, this is simply an offense that Congress sees fit to label as such, and today includes many nonviolent and seemingly minor offenses.

Do you have immigration concerns, or are you facing criminal charges such as assault or DUI? Call our law firm today at 888-695-6169 to schedule a consultation with one of our New Jersey immigration attorneys or criminal defense attorneys.

Crimes Under Aggravated Felony

Three basic categories fall under an aggravated felony. Certain crimes are almost always aggravated felonies. They do not depend on the loss to the victim or the sentence the offender receives. Crimes in this category include, but are not limited to: 

  • Child pornography
  • Disclosure of classified government information
  • Drug trafficking
  • Human trafficking
  • Kidnapping
  • Lewd acts with a minor child
  • Owning or running a house of prostitution
  • Rape
  • Treason

Some crimes count as aggravated felonies only when the offender receives a jail or prison sentence of at least one year. Crimes in this category include:

  • Bribery 
  • Burglary
  • Counterfeiting
  • Crimes of violence
  • Forgery
  • Obstruction of justice
  • Perjury
  • Racketeering (RICO violations)
  • Receipt of stolen property
  • Theft

And lastly, some federal and state white-collar crimes are aggravated felonies only if the victim’s losses exceed $10,000. These include:

  • Fraud
  • Money laundering
  • Tax evasion

Now that we specified what an aggravated felony is and what types of crimes can fall into that category, let’s discuss what changed on this new supreme court ruling.

Do you have immigration concerns? Call us today at 888-695-6169 to schedule a consultation.

The Armed Career Criminal Act

In Borden v. the United States, a divided Supreme Court held that for a crime to be considered as a “violent felony” under the Armed Career Criminal Act, it would require for the perpetrator to have either:

  • An intent to use violence against a person
  • The knowledge that they will subject a person to violent force.

If one person has three or more violent felony convictions, this person may receive a much longer criminal sentence for certain federal crimes. But a crime committed by only “reckless” behavior is not enough. “Reckless” is a legal term that most commonly means when a person “consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk.”

One example of reckless behavior is driving a car too fast through a busy neighborhood to get to work on time. The driver does not intend to hurt anyone and does not know for certain that they will hurt someone. Instead, the driver acts without thinking about the serious potential consequences.

The decision made in the Borden case has a significant impact on immigration law because the “violent felony” definition is nearly identical to the definition of “crime of violence” in immigration law. As we saw a bit earlier, a “crime of violence” is one of many types of aggravated felonies that could make a person deportable. 

With this decision, an important limit was put on the broad “crime of violence” aggravated felony definition.

The focus was set on two keywords in the definition of “violent felony” that is nearly identical to the “crime of violence” definition: 

  • A crime of violence is “an offense that has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another.”
  • A “violent felony” has the same definition except that it does not include property.

Justice Kagan, joined by Justice Breyer, Justice Sotomayor, and Justice Gorsuch, wrote that using force “against” a person requires that the perpetrator target another person. Justice Thomas provided the fifth vote. He noted that the “use” of physical force requires that the perpetrator intentionally act to cause harm.

These decisions make sense. As Justice Kagan explained, “violent felony” and “crime of violence” are supposed to be limited to the most serious types of offenses. This is especially true given the devastating immigration consequences of having an aggravated felony conviction.

All of this may sound confusing and seem like there is not that much of a difference. Still, the key part to take from this is that clarifying these terms, the differences between them, and setting up the limits they have is a huge change and can be the difference between getting automatic deportation or not.

Are you facing criminal charges,or are you at risk of being deported? You don’t have to face it alone. Our New Jersey immigration attorneys are here to help and provide legal advice. Contact us at 888-695-6169 to schedule a consultation.

Changes in Legal Immigration and Asylum Law Under the Biden Administration

Moving on to our next subject:  The federal government publishes twice a year what is called a “regulatory agenda,” which is a preview of all the proposals that are in the pipeline to become federal regulations. 

At the beginning of June, the Biden Administration presented the “2021 Spring Regulatory Agenda”, where they described the many ways they intend to move away from the Trump era, in everything from legal immigration to asylum on the border.

And even though not every proposed rule on this agenda ends up being finalized, this is a clear signal of the administration’s priorities and goals regarding our immigration system.

This agenda proposes a set of changes to legal immigration and asylum policies that are worth noticing. First of all, legal immigration.  One of the biggest regulations in the works will protect and fortify the DACA initiative by proposing a formal regulation to try and shield this program from legal challenges. 

This is important because currently, the DACA program only exists through a policy memorandum signed by the secretary of Homeland Security in 2012. This put DACA in a vulnerable position, as the Trump administration repeatedly tried to reverse it. The agenda says the Biden administration intends to publish the DACA regulation for “notice and comment” in August, giving it a more solid ground to stand on, and protection for the future. 

Do you have immigration concerns? Call us today at 888-695-6169 to schedule a consultation.

The Proposed Public Charge Rule

Another major change being proposed in this agenda is to publish a new “public charge” rule to replace the Trump administration’s overturned rule, which imposed a wealth test for new immigrants. What this new rule would do, is to make it harder for future administrations to do the same as Trump.

Besides these changes, there is also a rule that would immediately allow consulates abroad to waive in-person interview requirements for certain visa renewals during the pandemic and a formal withdrawal of Trump’s proposal to restrict student visas.

If you’re dealing with an immigration problem, don’t hesitate to connect with a competent New Jersey immigration lawyer. Call us at 888-695-6169 to schedule a consultation today.

Changes in Asylum Policies

Another of the major areas named on this agenda involves some changes to the asylum policies.  This administration intends to reshape the asylum process, and for this, it has two major steps to achieve it.

The first step is to move forward with an “interim final rule,” which goes into effect immediately, and this will change how asylum seekers who pass a credible fear interview get treated. This new process would imply that asylum seekers would be sent to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services asylum office first. They would only go to immigration court if an asylum officer denied them asylum.

The second step is that the Biden administration will publish a new regulation on asylum law, and what this regulation will do is to expand access to asylum to victims of gender-based violence. If it gets finalized, this regulation will align the United States asylum process more closely with existing international law.

To find out if you’re qualified to apply for a Green Card or other legal immigration status in the US, don’t hesitate to connect with one of our experienced immigration lawyers in New Jersey. We can help you deal with your immigration problems and concerns. Call us today at 888-695-6169 to schedule a consultation.

World Refugee Day

To conclude, I want to talk about refugees. World Refugee Day is celebrated internationally on June 20th. On that note, I want to talk a bit about where we are and what the road ahead looks like here in the U.S.

Last year, the number of refugees worldwide reached an all-time high of over 26 million. This is the highest since World War II, and on top of that, this was in the middle of a global pandemic.  

At the same time, President Trump drastically reduced the number of refugees annually accepted in the U.S., setting the cap at 15,000.  Now, as we celebrate this date, the hope that the United States restores its leadership in protecting the human rights of refugees is rising again.

Changes Under the Biden Administration

When President Biden was on campaign, he pledged to change the refugee situation dramatically and raise the annual refugee cap to 125,000. And after a few bumps on the road, where he first decided to maintain Trump’s admission cap, he finally raised the number in May to 62,500 and pledged to double the cap to 125,000 for 2022. And while some harmful policies have been officially terminated, like “Remain in Mexico,” the fact is that the way things are going, we are on a path to resettle a historically low number of refugees in 2021.

As of May 31, only 3250 refugees had been resettled this year. At that rate, fewer than 5000 refugees would be resettled in 2021. Lower than any year under the Trump Administration. 

This is due in part to the delay in raising the cap from the start of this administration. This lack of early actions negatively affected over 700 refugees facing urgent protection risks and saw their flights to the U.S. canceled. It also left resettlement agencies waiting for government funding to rebuild their operational capacity. Now, these agencies are trying to catch up with their objectives but are only expected to resettle about 10 to 15 thousand refugees in 2021. 

If you’re dealing with an immigration problem, don’t hesitate to connect with a competent New Jersey immigration lawyer. Call us at 888-695-6169 to schedule a consultation today.


Setbacks in Refugee Admissions

Before the Trump administration’s drastic cuts, the United States had admitted more refugees each year than all other countries combined under a program that is now 41 years old. But, upon his arrival, President Trump slashed refugee admissions, and more importantly, he affected the whole foundational capacity of the entire U.S. refugee resettlement system.

Since the federal government pays resettlement agencies for each refugee served, about 100 agencies were forced to close due to financial problems from the low number of refugees admitted into the country during his administration. Along with this, he cut the number of U.S. refugee officers overseas, reducing the interviews conducted by one-third, and “enhanced” vetting procedures that created additional barriers for refugee admission. 

Procedures like requesting the refugee to submit paperwork for ten years’ worth of addresses, which created a lot of bureaucratic inefficiencies, slowed the whole process, and, in the end, did not meaningfully improve national security.

So, what should the next steps and actions be?

Improving the Immigration Process

Although President Biden sent a signal of improvement with the rise of the refugee cap, this is only a signal, and real actions are needed.

To overcome all the setbacks the previous administration caused, we need to hire and train more refugees officers and invest in improving the technology at their disposal to process the backlog of refugee applicants more efficiently. Tools like video conferencing capabilities in remote locations are key to help turn this situation around. 

Giving refugee resettlement agencies a sustainable method of federal funding that does not rely exclusively on annual swings in refugee admissions is a necessary action too. 

This would allow them to align resources and scale operations when needed. 

If you have immigration concerns, don’t hesitate to connect with a trusted New Jersey immigration attorney. Call us at 888-695-6169 to schedule a consultation today.

Got Immigration Concerns? Connect with an Immigration Attorney in New Jersey

If you have immigration concerns, our New Jersey immigration lawyers can help you process your fiance visa application, family immigration, or US citizenship. At Andres Mejer Law, our attorneys are dedicated to finding the best immigration solution for your case. Don’t wait until it is too late! Contact our New Jersey immigration law firm today for an initial consultation.

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