Supreme Court Ruling Adds Extra Danger To DUI For Immigrants

DUI is one of the most expensive and long-lasting punishments you can have on your record and still walk free, but for immigrants the charge has an extra danger. One immigrant took his case all the way to the Supreme Court and lost. The Los Angeles Times reports.

Federal law allows the deportation of noncitizens if they are convicted of an “aggravated felony” that is a “crime of violence.” Refugio Palomar-Santiago was granted permanent resident status in 1990 but received a DUI the next year. That charge led to his deportation in 1998. He then came back into the country in 2017, got caught, and was indicted on an unlawful reentry charge.

The question was whether the DUI charge fell under the classification of a crime of violence. Past case law from the Supreme Court in 2004 said that it didn’t because it involved negligence rather than intent.

Palomar-Santiago’s lawyers tried to argue that, since this was so, he should never have been deported in the first place, and that he could assert his rights if a deportation order was “fundamentally unfair.”

The 9th Circuit of San Francisco agreed, but the Supreme Court ruled against him in a 9-0 ruling. The reason given was that there are three conditions that must be fulfilled to challenge a deportation. One had been fulfilled, but he didn’t show proof that he tried and denied all “administrative remedies”, and didn’t show he was deprived of an “opportunity for judicial review.”

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