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Supreme Court accepts two immigration-deportation issues

The United States Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to hear two immigration issues during the upcoming term, which begins on Monday. One of the issues involves two cases that have been consolidated for review at the high court. Each of the immigration issues concerns standards used in deportation proceedings.

The two consolidated cases involve a timing issue under the Immigration and Nationality Act. The attorney general is authorized to cancel the removal of an immigrant under the Act, if the immigrant has been a lawful permanent resident in the United States for at least 5-years and has lived in the country continuously for at least 7-years. The law requires that the immigrant not be convicted of an aggravated felony before the residency requirement is met for the attorney general to be authorized to cancel the removal order. There has been a split of decision rendered in the lower federal courts over when the clock starts running in certain circumstances.

The issue arises in cases where an immigrant originally entered the country as a minor. The immigrants remained as unemancipated minors when their parents' attained legal U.S. residence status.

For instance, one of the consolidated cases involves a man who entered the country with his family in the late 1980s when he was 5-years-old. In 1991, his father attained legal status. It was not until 2003 that the immigrant himself attained legal residency, when he was 19 years old. Two years later, the man was accused of a deportable offense. Ultimately the immigration judge allowed for cancellation of removal.

The judge ruled that the immigrant met the 5-year legal residency requirement, in part, through his parent's status while he remained an unemancipated minor. The Obama administration argues the ruling is too generous and the judge should have begun the clock in 2003, when the immigrant attained his own legal status.

The second issue the high court will hear arises under the Illegal Immigration Reform and Responsibility Act (IIRRA). A lawful permanent resident and Greek Citizen was denied re-entry into the United States after a one-week trip to Greece. The immigrant reportedly had been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude in 1994. The IIRRA governs the law of re-entry based on crimes of moral turpitude. The IIRRA became effective in 1997, roughly 3-years after the immigrants conviction. The high court will decide whether the IIRRA can be applied retroactively to the immigrant's conviction.

Source: Huffington Post, "Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Eight New Cases," Mike Sacks, Sept. 27, 2011

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