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Second Circuit throws doubt on the Categorical Approach of Drug Convictions

In Doe v. Sessions, the Second Circuit found that the BIA did not err in determining that the petitioner’s federal drug trafficking conviction made him removable, even though the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) schedules of drugs were broader at the time of conviction than at the time of removal.

l: Court Finds BIA Erred in Barring Cancellation and Asylum Applications of Petitioner Convicted Under NY Penal Law §220.31

The Second Circuit granted in part the petition for review, holding that the BIA should have applied the categorical approach to determine whether the petitioner’s N.Y. Penal Law §220.31 conviction was an aggravated felony under the INA, because §220.31 defines a single crime and is therefore an indivisible statute. Applying the categorical approach, the court concluded that the petitioner’s conviction under N.Y. Penal Law §220.31 did not constitute a drug-trafficking aggravated felony and thus did not bar the petitioner from seeking cancellation of removal and asylum.

AG Lifts Stay and Remands Matter of Chairez and Matter of Sama

After referring Matter of Chairez and Matter of Sama to herself for review of an issue relating to Descamps v. United States, and after inviting amicus briefs addressing the proper approach for determining “divisibility” within the meaning of Descamps, the Attorney General (AG) lifted the stay and remanded the two cases to the BIA for any appropriate action in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 23, 2016, decision in Mathis v. United States.

Court Finds Receipt of Embezzled Property Is Not Categorically an Aggravated Felony

The Fourth Circuit held that the BIA erred in concluding that the petitioner was an aggravated felon who was ineligible for cancellation of removal under INA §240A(a)(3), finding that a conviction for receipt of embezzled property under 18 USC §659 is not an aggravated felony under the categorical approach

Got a theft offense. Think your an aggravated felon? Think again.

The Ninth Circuit granted the petition for review and remanded, finding that a conviction under California’s theft statute is categorically not a theft offense, and thus not an aggravated felony, because the statute is both overbroad and indivisible, and such a conviction is not susceptible to the modified categorical approach pursuant to Descamps v. United States and Rendon v. Holder.

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