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SCOTUS makes burden of proof ruling for deportation cases

On Behalf of | Mar 24, 2021 | Immigration Law

Deportation proceedings represent the ultimate nightmare for many immigrant families living in Kentucky. Various factors can trigger this legal action, and the number of deportations taking place is higher than in past years. Another matter of concern for immigrant families is a recent decision from the Supreme Court, which will likely make it more difficult for undocumented immigrants to fight off deportation in court.

Case background

The case at the center of the ruling involves a man who has lived in the United States for 25 years. The man used a fake Social Security card to secure and maintain employment as a janitor. When officials became aware of the deception, the man was convicted of attempted criminal impersonation and ordered to pay a $100 fine.

Immigration problem

The legal consequences for the man did not seem so serious until a lower court decided his actions constituted a crime of “moral turpitude.” These crimes can trigger deportation actions under immigration law regardless of how serious they may seem compared to some other offenses.

The man appealed to the attorney general to cancel the deportation action against him. He cited the devastating effects his deportation would have on his spouse and son. His wife and son are both U.S. citizens.
The attorney general can help stop deportation proceedings in many instances. But an AG has no power when caused by crimes of moral turpitude.

High Court position

A Supreme Court review of the case resulted in a 5-3 ruling against the man. The man argued the crime he committed did not meet the criteria for a crime of moral turpitude. The Supreme Court’s opinion is that the undocumented immigrant bears the responsibility of showing a crime is not one of moral turpitude.

The justices decided the man failed to meet this burden. Both immigrant advocates and legal experts agree the court’s ruling will likely force more undocumented immigrants out of the country for minor crimes.

The rules and regulations that comprise U.S. immigration law are complex and constantly changing. People with questions regarding the process may benefit from a conversation with an experienced attorney.