Supreme Court axes law to deport criminal migrants

United States Supreme Court

President Trump's nominee to the high court, Justice Neil Gorsuch, joined the liberal majority's 5-4 opinion in deciding that the law passed by Congress failed to define what would qualify as a violent crime.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down part of a federal statute requiring the mandatory deportations of immigrants convicted of violent crimes.

Justice Elena Kagan wrote that the 2015 decision "tells us how to resolve this case".

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 case, Sessions v. Dimaya, had originated during the Obama administration but had been closely watched to see if the justices would reveal how they will consider the Trump administration's overall push to both limit immigration and increase deportations.

C-SPANToday the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act which dealt with the power of the U.S. government to deport any alien, including a lawful permanent resident, convicted of an "aggravated felony".

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Removal proceedings were first brought against James Garcia Dimaya in 2010 after he pleaded no contest to charges of residential burglary in California in 2007 and 2009.

This probably wasn't an outcome to a U.S. Supreme Court case that President Donald Trump was expecting. After Gorsuch joined the court, the justices heard the case re-argued. Deadlocked 4-4, the justices scheduled a new round of arguments once Gorsuch joined the court. The government argued that even though Diyama had not been convicted of a violent crime, he could be deported under the portion of the statute that allowed for removal for "any ... offense that is a felony and that, by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense".

The court ruled in its 5-4 decision that the law was "unconstitutionally vague".

"This ruling is something immigrants can cite to as they argue for more constitutional protections in other areas", he said.

Immigration officials relied on a section of immigration law that lists crimes that make people eligible for deportation.

The ruling is a setback for the Trump administration's hardline immigration policies.

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