Stealing a Car Could Get You Deported


The Supreme Court on decided that a person could be deported if convicted in a car theft case Wed. Jan. 17th.  In a 9-0 decision, the justices said non-citizens of the United States who were convicted
or pleaded guilty to the theft of a car are also guilty of aggravated felony under immigration laws, even if they simply aided another person to carry out the theft. This decision could have a substantial effect on the administration of immigration laws. The court said, “Immigration law provides for removing someone convicted of aiding and abetting a theft offense when the term of imprisonment is at least one year.”
The justices were considering whether a state conviction of stealing a car in Calif. could result in deportation. Luis Alexander Duenas-Alvarez who is and immigrant from Peru, was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to a state theft charge in Calif. Though the decision deals with Calif., the ruling affects the laws of the United States of a whole.
Justice Breyer delivered the opinion of the Court in the syllabus for the case Gonzalez v. Duenas-Alvarez, “Immigration law provides for removal from the United
States of an alien convicted of theft offense (including receipt of stolen property) . . . for which the term of imprisonment [is] at least one year.” Breyer said.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has originally ruled that Mr. Duenas-Alvarez who is a U.S. resident could not be deported. The Supreme Court disagreed and the decision is final. “The question here is whether the term theft offense, in this federal statute includes the crime of aiding and abetting a theft offense. We hold that it does. And we vacate a 9th Circuit determination to the contrary,” Breyer said.

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