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Wed Feb 20, 2013, 03:49 PM

Obama wants judges to decide whether immigrants convicted of minor crimes should be deported

Obama wants judges to decide whether immigrants convicted of minor crimes should be deported

Posted by Suzy Khimm

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Under current law, non-citizen immigrants convicted of what’s known as an “aggravated felony” face automatic penalties that make it far harder for them to be spared from deportation. While the term suggests a crime of a serious and violent nature, the definition of an “aggravated felony” has been expanded over the years, to the point where it includes crimes that are neither “aggravated” nor “felonies.” Obama’s draft immigration bill would narrow the definition of an aggravated felony by giving immigration judges greater discretion to grant leniency to individual immigrants convicted of minor offenses.

Originally, only a small handful of serious crimes were classified as “aggravated felonies” in immigration law, but the definition was expanded in 1996 to encompass a host of other more minor offenses. “As initially enacted in 1988, the term ‘aggravated felony’ referred only to murder, federal drug trafficking, and illicit trafficking of certain firearms and destructive devices,” explains a brief from the Immigration Policy Center, an immigration advocacy group. “Today, the definition of ‘aggravated felony’ covers more than thirty types of offenses, including simple battery, theft, filing a false tax return, and failing to appear in court.”

“Under immigration law, ‘aggravated felony’ can be as simple as a bar fight. The reason is that it’s not measured in terms of the severity of the crime—it’s measured in terms of technical sentence,” says David Leopold, the general counsel for the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

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Many crimes are classified as “aggravated felonies” if they carry a sentence of one year—regardless of whether that sentence is actually imposed or carried out in full. Immigrants convicted of such crimes are automatically required to be detained by federal immigration authorities after they’re released from criminal custody and can then be summarily deported without a hearing before a judge...Obama’s draft bill would it possible for more immigrants convicted of minor criminal offenses to remain in the United States by giving judges far greater discretion to decide whether they should be deported. The proposal would redefine an aggravated felony to encompass crimes that carry at least a five-year penalty. It also would require fraud offenses to result in at least $100,000 in losses for victims rather than the current $10,000 to be classified as aggravated felonies.

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/02/20/obamas-plan-judges-leeway-deportation/


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Reply Obama wants judges to decide whether immigrants convicted of minor crimes should be deported (Original post)
ProSense Feb 2013 OP
ProSense Feb 2013 #1

Response to ProSense (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 04:27 PM

1. Kick! n/t

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