IRLI Files BIA Brief Affirming Removability of Criminal Aliens Under Arizona Illicit Drug Statute

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February 27, 2017

Assisting Government Administrative Tribunals Properly Interpret the Law

February 27, 2017

(Washington, D.C.) – The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) has filed a friend-of-the-court brief (attached here) on behalf of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) with the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) to address whether an alien convicted under an Arizona statute that prohibits attempting to transport a narcotic drug for sale is removable from the United States.

Specifically, the BIA posed two questions: (1) whether a conviction for attempt to transport a narcotic drug for sale under Arizona law is a “crime involving moral turpitude” (CIMT) as defined by federal immigration law, thus subjecting the alien to removal, and (2) whether a conviction for attempt to transport a narcotic drug for sale under Arizona law makes the alien removable under federal immigration provisions directing that aliens who commit certain crimes relating to controlled substances are inadmissible to the United States.

In its brief, IRLI argued that the attempt to transport a narcotic drug for sale is presumptively a CIMT because it requires a knowing mental state and narcotic distribution is a crime of moral turpitude. IRLI also argued that an alien convicted of violating the Arizona narcotic trafficking statute is deportable because Arizona’s list of proscribed narcotics largely corresponds to those under the federal schedule and Arizona’s crime of transporting such substances is related to a controlled substance even if the substance involved in the conviction is not on the federal schedule.

Dale L. Wilcox, IRLI’s Executive Director commented, “IRLI is pleased to file a brief on FAIR’s behalf regarding these important questions. FAIR has submitted briefs in the BIA for more than twenty years, and the Board regularly recognizes FAIR’s contribution to its decisions.” Wilcox continued, “The positions taken by FAIR in the instant brief are in harmony with BIA precedent, statutory law, the regulatory history of the provisions at issue, and the best interests of the nation.”

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