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By Melanie Arter, CNSNews, April 18, 2018
In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday affirmed a 9th Circuit Court ruling that said a law used to deport immigrants who commit certain felonies is unconstitutionally vague.
Justice Neil Gorsuch, who was nominated by President Donald Trump, joined liberals on the court in its decision opposing the deportations.
In Sessions v. Dimaya, James Dimaya, “a lawful permanent resident” with two first-degree burglary convictions in California, was facing deportation after his second offense. An immigration judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals decided that the first-degree burglary charge is considered a “crime of violence.”
“While Dimaya’s appeal was pending in the Ninth Circuit, this Court held that a similar residual clause in the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA)—defining ‘violent felony’ as any felony that ‘otherwise involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another,’ 18 U. S. C. §924(e)(2)(B)—was unconstitutionally ‘void for vagueness’ under the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause. Johnson v. United States, 576 U. S. ___, ___,” the court said.
“Relying on Johnson, the Ninth Circuit held that §16(b), as incorporated into the INA, was also unconstitutionally vague,” it added.
President Donald Trump tweeted that Congress must close loopholes that prevent the removal of “dangerous criminal aliens.”
“Today’s Court decision means that Congress must close loopholes that block the removal of dangerous criminal aliens, including aggravated felons. This is a public safety crisis that can only be fixed by Congress – House and Senate must quickly pass a legislative fix to ensure violent criminal aliens can be removed from our society. Keep America Safe!” Trump tweeted.
“Yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling preventing the removal of certain aliens convicted of aggravated felonies that constitute ‘crimes of violence’ highlights the danger posed by congressional inaction,” White House House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.
“This case, first argued and briefed under the Obama Administration, gives Congress a clear opportunity to finally close dangerous loopholes: Congress should immediately pass a fix to close these loopholes so that the United States can promptly remove violent criminal aliens from our country,” she said.
“Unless Congress acts, the United States Government will be unable to remove from our communities many non-citizens convicted of violent felonies, including in some cases domestic assault and battery, burglary, and child abuse. It is a matter of vital public safety for Congress to act now,” Sanders added.
The Department of Homeland Security said the ruling “undermines” its “efforts to remove aliens convicted of certain violent crimes, including sexual assault, kidnapping, and burglary, from the United States.”
“By preventing the federal government from removing known criminal aliens, it allows our nation to be a safe haven for criminals and makes us more vulnerable as a result,” DHS Press Secretary Tyler Houlton said in a statement.
“The Secretary has met with hundreds of members of Congress over the last few months to implore them to take action on passing legislation to close public safety loopholes, such as these, that encourage illegal immigration and tie the hands of law enforcement,” Houlton said.