Published: Wed, April 18, 2018

Gorsuch Sides With Immigrant in Striking Portion of Deportation Law

Gorsuch Sides With Immigrant in Striking Portion of Deportation Law

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled 5 to 4 that a law subjecting immigrations to deportation for "crimes of violence" is unconstitutionally vague and can not be enforced. The appeals court based its ruling on a 2015 supreme court decision that struck down a similarly worded part of another federal law that imposes longer prison sentences on repeat criminals.

The law, she wrote, "produces more unpredictability and arbitrariness than the Due Process Clause tolerates".

Gorsuch, in one of his first major breaks with fellow conservatives, joined the court's left-leaning four justices in upending that part of immigration law.

James Garcia Dimaya is a lawful resident who came to the US from the Philippines at age 13. An immigration judge ruled Dimaya was eligible for deportation because of the convictions, prompting the legal battle that ended Tuesday, when the statute was overturned.


The law allowed the government to deport immigrants convicted of "crimes of violence".

Still, Tuesday's decision is a blow to the Trump administration, which has actively pursued an immigration crackdown with a heavy emphasis on deportations.

The case in question was carried over from the high court's 2016 term, when the justices presumably deadlocked 4-4 following Justice Antonin Scalia's death.

The case Sessions v. Dimaya originated during the Obama administration but has been closely followed to see how the justices would consider the Trump administration's efforts to limit legal immigration and increase deportations. Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch joined with the more liberal justices to strike the provision.

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