In Sessions v. Dimaya, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the statutory definition of “crime of violence” is “unconstitutionally vague.” Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in his opinion that the law “fails to specify which crimes qualify” as a “crime of violence.” “Vague laws invite arbitrary power. . . . [T]he statute here seems to require a judge to guess about the ordinary case of the crime of conviction and then guess whether a ‘substantial risk’ of ‘physical force’ attends its commission. . . . [A] law that asks so much of courts while offering them so little by way of guidance is unconstitutionally vague”. Click here to read the Supreme Court of the United States’ decision.
Now, immigration authorities can no longer use the “crime of violence” provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act to attempt to deport someone convicted of a “crime of violence.” Instead the government will have to rely upon the statutory provisions, of which there are plenty.
This development in the law is significant to many criminal immigrants who are attempting to remain in the United States.
ABOUT THIS AUTHOR
J.J. Despain is an associate attorney in Salt Lake City for W&O’. He practices employment based and family-based immigration law. J.J. graduated from Brigham Young University, where he earned a bachelor of arts in communications with an emphasis in print journalism. He spent two years as an opinions editor, sports editor, and web editor for the campus newspaper, The Daily Universe. J.J. also earned minors in both Spanish and political science. After his undergraduate studies, J.J. attended law school at the University of Iowa College of Law. In Iowa, J.J. was the president of the student chapter of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society, a managing editor of the Iowa Law Review, a judicial clerk for the Honorable Stephanie M. Rose of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, and was involved with the Latino Law Students Association and Sports Law Society.
Kelly O’Reilly is a founding partner with Wilner & O’Reilly, APLC, and a former Immigration Officer with Citizenship and Immigration Services in Los Angeles and Orange County. With over 18 years working as an immigration attorney, he is an expert in all facets of Immigration Law and one of the best immigration attorneys serving Orange County and Riverside County. A native of Fresno, California, Mr. O’Reilly received his law degree from the University of La Verne, College of Law and his Bachelor of Science degree from Brigham Young University. A former missionary in Hong Kong, Mr. O’Reilly has a great love of Chinese culture and is conversant in Cantonese.