Supreme Court rules burden of proof rests on illegal migrants seeking relief from removal

The Supreme Court shot down on Thursday a bid from an illegal immigrant trying to avoid deportation.

The high court ruled that illegal migrants hold the burden of proving that they have not committed a crime of “moral turpitude” when seeking relief from removal, Breitbart reported.

SCOTUS says no

The case centered on Clemente Avelino Pereida, an undocumented immigrant who came to America from Mexico 25 years ago. He was convicted in Nebraska with a misdemeanor for falsifying a Social Security number to work and was sentenced to a $100 fine and no jail time.

Pereida has faced deportation since 2009, according to reports, and has a wife and three children, one of whom is in the country illegally, and one of whom is a U.S. citizen.

The Justice Department can provide relief for removal when a crime of moral turpitude has not been committed, but Pereida’s criminal record did not make clear whether he committed such a disqualifying offense.

According to Breitbart, the court ruled 5–3 against Pereida, holding that the burden rests with illegal immigrants to prove that they have not committed crimes of moral turpitude. Justice Neil Gorsuch, writing for the majority, said that an appeals court had correctly decided that Pereida failed the test.

“The INA [Immigration and Nationality Act] expressly requires individuals seeking relief from lawful removal orders to prove all aspects of their eligibility. That includes proving they do not stand convicted of a disqualifying criminal offense,” Gorsuch wrote.

“The alien bears the burden”

Of course, illegal immigration is itself a crime, although it’s seldom treated as such by liberals, whether they’re in the White House or sitting on the Supreme Court itself. Three of the high court’s justices — Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor — dissented.

Breyer wrote that Pereida should stay because of a lack of clarity as to whether he committed a disqualifying offense. “The relevant documents, in this case, do not show that the previous conviction at issue necessarily was for a crime involving moral turpitude,” he said, according to the Associated Press.

However, Gorsuch said that such ambiguity should not “redound to his benefit” and that he still has the burden of proof.

“And where, as here, the alien bears the burden of proof and was convicted under a divisible statute containing some crimes that qualify as crimes of moral turpitude, the alien must prove that his actual, historical offense of conviction isn’t among them,” Gorsuch wrote.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett recused herself from the case because it predated her joining the court.

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