IRLI files Supreme Court brief advocating criminal alien deportation

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March 30, 2016

Ensuring the safety and security of our communities

March 30, 2016

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) filed a brief (attached here) in the U.S. Supreme Court that advocates removing certain criminal aliens from the United States. The case, Mathis v. United States, No. 15-6092, was appealed to the High Court by a five-time convicted felon, Richard Mathis, who is seeking to avoid having those convictions count toward a sentencing enhancement under the Armed Career Criminal Act of 1984 (ACCA).

Through a misreading and application of precedent, the convicted felon is seeking to stretch the law and require an additional step in the judicially created analysis used to determine if a state crime definition is equal to the generic federal definition of a particular crime for sentencing enhancement. Although the felon in this case is not an alien subject to removal, the decision is important for immigration law because the same judicially created analysis used in criminal law is used by immigration courts to determine if a convicted alien is deportable under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Under the INA, aliens convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude, crimes of violence, offenses related to controlled substances, and aggravated felonies are deportable.

Dale L. Wilcox, IRLI’s Executive Director, commented, “If the Court were to adopt Mathis’ argument, many state statutes would no longer carry deportation as a consequence for convicted criminal aliens.” Wilcox continued, “In its brief, IRLI argues that Supreme Court precedent and congressional intent in passing the ACCA and relevant INA provisions do not support Mathis’ claim. We hope the Supreme Court will remain true to precedent and the will of the people, thereby ensuring the safety and security of our communities.”

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