The US Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that a provision in the Immigration and Nationality Act is too vague to stand up in immigration court, according to Reuters. Trump-nominated Justice Neil Gorsuch joined the four liberal justices in invalidating a provision within the Immigration and Nationality Act. The provision has been used by immigration officials as grounds for deporting immigrants who committed certain felony crimes. However, the justices found that the wording of the provision was unconstitutionally vague, Reuters reports. Mainly, the justice had issue with how a crime can be categorized differently from state to state leaving severity of crimes up to the states. This gave immigration authority vague guidelines they could apply as they wished to deem people deportable.
“Today’s ruling significantly undermines DHS’s efforts to remove aliens convicted of certain violent crimes, including sexual assault, kidnapping, and burglary, from the United States,” U.S. Department of Homeland Security spokesman Tyler Houlton said in a statement. “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. 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.”
The decision was made in reference to case Session, Attorney General v. Dimaya. James Garcia Dimaya is an immigrant from the Philippines who was convicted of non-violent burglary twice. Immigration officials were trying to use the two convictions as ground to deport Dimaya back to the Philippines. However, immigration law experts say that the ruling will not invalidate a large number of deportation orders. Also, the ruling will not prevent immigrants charged and convicted with the crimes of murder, rape, counterfeiting and terrorism from being deported.
You can read more about the ruling on Reuters.