/ Modified apr 17, 2018 4:32 p.m.

SCOTUS Rejects Part of Law That Could Accelerate Some Deportations

Court said the law was vague about how to define violent crimes.

U.S. Supreme Court D.C. The U.S. Supreme Court building
Library of Congress

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down part of a federal law that can speed up the deportation of immigrants convicted of some violent crimes. The decision affirms a lower-court ruling already applied in Arizona. 

The high court's decision affirms a ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which has authority over Arizona. The part of the federal law in question defines what makes a crime violent. The Supreme Court says it’s unconstitutionally vague and unenforceable.

The Supreme Court has upheld the idea that people facing deportation have some due process rights, said Phoenix attorney Gabriel Leyba.

"Because they’re worried that you can’t have loose standards because the outcome is so severe if somebody is basically dispatched from the country and not allowed to ever to come back."

Leyba says the decision may mean some immigration cases get resolved faster, and others more slowly. Immigration courts have a backlog of more than 650,000 cases.

Fronteras Desk
This story is from the Fronteras Desk, a collaboration of Southwestern public radio stations, including NPR 89.1. Read more from the Fronteras Desk.
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