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No Automatic Deportation for Minor Drug Offenses

U.S. Supreme Court Rules No Automatic Deportation for Minor Drug Offenses

The U.S. Supreme Court held that immigrants who are convicted of minor drug offenses, such as possession of marijuana, need not be automatically deported and should be allowed to make a case for leniency before immigration judges. The high court overruled the interpretations by the federal government and lower appellate court in the case of Jose Angel Carachri-Rosendo, a legal resident convicted of unauthorized possession of a single tablet of Xanax. The government argued that because the defendant had been convicted of a minor count of marijuana possession about 1 year earlier, the second offense should be categorized as an “aggravated felony possession” and subject him to automatic deportation. The Court rejected this argument and held that possession of a “trivial amount of a prescription drug” was not what Congress intended when it mandated deportation for any immigrant convicted of a felony aggravated possession.

This is a good decision showing both common sense and compassion.

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