Trump Scores Major Supreme Court Win Making Criminal Immigrants Easier to Deport
Conservative majority unites in SCOTUS for 5-4 decision on deporting immigrants
President Donald Trump has walked away from the Supreme Court with a major victory after the conservative majority in the SCOTUS backed his plan to make it easier for federal authorities to deport criminal immigrants.
The court backed the president on a 5-4 vote on Thursday to lift some of the red tape regarding the deportation of immigrants who commit crimes in America.
The dissenting Justice Sonia Sotomayor blasted the move, however, calling the decision “at odds with common sense.”
The U.S. Supreme Court's decision will make it easier for federal agents to deport certain immigrants who have committed crimes.
The decision upholds a lower court ruling that found a legal permanent resident from Jamaica named Andre Martello Barton ineligible to have his deportation canceled.
The ruling was due to a U.S. law that lets some longtime legal residents avoid expulsion.
According to News Pushed, Barton was targeted for deportation after criminal convictions in Georgia for drug and gun crimes.
The decision could affect thousands of immigrants with criminal convictions who reside in the United States.
The Trump administration argued against Barton’s bid to avoid removal.
Trump’s hardline stance on illegal immigration has been a key feature of his presidency and his 2020 re-election campaign, citing crimes committed by illegal aliens.
Permanent residents selected for deportation may apply to have their removal canceled if they have been living continuously in the United States for at least seven years, except if they have committed certain serious felonies.
At issue in the case was the meaning of a 1996 change – known as the “stop-time rule” – in U.S. immigration law.
This provision disqualifies immigrants who commit certain crimes from this discretionary benefit by stopping the clock on their period of continuous residency.
The federal government had said the rule was triggered in Barton’s case because his assault charge would bar his admission into the country, even though as of 1996 he had resided in the United States too long to be declared deportable for that crime.
Barton argued that he could not be found inadmissible because he had already been lawfully admitted.
Noting that deporting a permanent resident is a “wrenching process,” conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh, writing for the majority on Thursday, disagreed.
“Removal is particularly difficult when it involves someone such as Barton who has spent most of his life in the United States,” wrote Kavanaugh, appointed to the court by Trump in 2018.
“Congress made a choice, however, to authorize removal of noncitizens – even lawful permanent residents – who have committed certain serious crimes.”
In a dissent, liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor called the ruling “at odds with common sense.”
Sotomayor noted that the immigration judge who heard Barton’s case said she would have preferred to grant Barton’s bid to avoid deportation, noting that he had rehabilitated and that his four children were all U.S. citizens.
Barton came to the United States illegally in 1989.
He was convicted in Georgia in 1996 of assault and possession of a firearm in an incident in which his friend shot at a house from a car he was driving.
Barton also was convicted of drug possession in 2007 and 2008.
In 2017, immigration authorities decided Barton’s deportation could not be canceled because the 1996 assault charges triggered the stop-time rule, just months before he reached the seven-year milestone.
The Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision in 2018.
There are more than 13 million lawful U.S. permanent residents, also known as “green card” holders, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
Of the estimated 1.9 million non-citizens the government has deemed deportable based on criminal convictions, most are legal residents or those in the country on temporary visas, according to the Migration Policy Institute, a research organization.
The ruling came a day after another immigration crackdown by Trump, who ordered a temporary block on some foreigners from permanent residence in the United States.
The presdient to protect American workers and jobs during the coronavirus pandemic.
That order is due to last for 60 days and then will be reviewed and possibly extended.