The United States Supreme Court announced today that it will decide the question of whether 18 U.S.C. § 16(b), as incorporated into the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”), is unconstitutionally vague. In 2015, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the statute, which defines a “crime of violence,” is unconstitutionally vague. A conviction for a “crime of violence” can prevent a foreign national from taking advantage of numerous immigration benefits. Allowing a noncitizen to bring a void for vagueness challenge to the definition of crime of violence could open up possibilities of avoiding the negative consequences associated with such a conviction.
In addition to the Ninth Circuit, the Sixth and Seventh Courts of Appeals have also found 18 U.S.C. § 16(b) to be void for vagueness. Most importantly, on September 20, 2016, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals found the clause to be unconstitutionally vague. (Click here for more information on that decision).
With today’s announcement, the United States Supreme Court intends to resolve the question of whether 18 U.S.C. § 16(b) is in fact void for vagueness. If you believe that you may have been convicted of a crime of violence that has affected your immigration case, please contact our office.
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