SCOTUS determines undocumented immigrants bear burden of proof when seeking deportation relief

The U.S. Supreme Court this week dealt a serious blow to progressives who seek to make it easier for undocumented immigrants to dodge deportation orders.

According to reports, the nation’s highest court ruled 5-3 that the burden of proof rests on the subjects of such decisions to prove in court that they are eligible to have a removal order canceled.

“A crime involving moral turpitude”

In a majority opinion joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, and Clarence Thomas, Justice Neal Gorsuch cited prior immigration law in arriving at the determination.

A dissenting opinion was authored by Justice Stephen Breyer and joined by Justices Elena Kagen and Sonia Sotomayor. Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who was not on the bench at the time the case was argued in October, recused herself.

At issue in the case was the order of removal against Clemente Pereida, a Mexican citizen who had been living in the United States for 25 years with his wife and children but was recently convicted in Nebraska of using a fraudulent Social Security number to gain employment.

Pereida sought relief from the order, though a key component of eligibility is being able to prove, among other things, that he was not “convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude.”

A difference of legal opinion arose out of ambiguity in the record regarding exactly what laws he had been convicted of violating. Specifically, the statute under which he was found guilty included at least four separate crimes, not all of which involve “moral turpitude.”

“Mr. Pereida has offered no account”

In the prevailing opinion, Gorsuch wrote that the Immigration and Nationality Act “expressly requires individuals seeking relief from lawful removal orders to provide all aspects of their eligibility,” including proof that “they do not stand convicted of a disqualifying criminal offense.”

He went on to point out that several provisions within that act leave no doubt that it is the undocumented immigrant and not the federal government who must shoulder the burden of proof in making the argument that relief from a removal order is warranted.

“In this context, it is undisputed that an alien has the burden of proving that he has not committed a crime of moral turpitude,” Gorsuch wrote. “And Mr. Pereida has offered no account why a rational Congress might wish to place this burden on an alien seeking admission to this country, yet lift it from an alien who has entered the country illegally and is petitioning for relief from a lawful removal order.”

In the end, the majority determined that “whatever degree of ambiguity remains about the nature of Mr. Pereida’s conviction, and whatever the reason for it, one thing remains stubbornly evident: He has not carried his burden of showing that he was not convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude.”

Of course, the ruling was opposed by many Americans beyond the three dissenting justices, including law professor and Obama-era senior counselor to the Homeland Security secretary Lucas Guttentag, who complained that the decision created a “one-way street” that will pave the way for other undocumented immigrants to be deported on the basis of arguably minor criminal offenses.

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21 Responses

  1. any person entering the country illegally needs to be deported immediately deported back to his or her country . no questioned asked.

    1. I agree.. he had several years to apply for citizenship and did not do so .. he should be returned to the country he fled from .. and if his family is not legalized citizens then they should be deported as well .. all illegals should go thru the legal process immediately after being screened to become a citizen of our Country.. No matter their race , their color , or their gender ..

  2. I tend to agree with Byron Pack; however, those who have been here for more than 10 years who are willing to go to the back of the list of people here legally awaiting citizenship should be allowed to apply for citizenship. Those who are not willing to do this should be returned to their native country.

    1. It doesn’t matter how long they have been here, they need to go to the very end of the line of people following the legal process!

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  4. Whoa the SCOTUS is really tuff…why didn’t they hear arguments on the coup election? They lost ALL CREDIBILITY….COWARDS!

  5. He was already guilty of the CRIME of entering our country illegally. As a criminal, one more crime should be sufficient to warrant deportation. I have nothing against immigrants. My wife is a LEGAL immigrant. Anyone entering our country should do so legally. We can then embrace them with open arms.

  6. The point I have to make is that he had been here for awhile , and knew that what he was doing wasn’t obeying the law . And using a fake social security card was to be a big issue. He doesn’t need to be in our country if he want obey our laws and to just let them come into our state and not obey the same laws we do no matter how long he was here. There are laws we all have to obey and they should too. So sending him back is the right thing to do . We can’t break the laws so they shouldn’t be allowed to either. Thank you to the judges that see this .

  7. Not following the constitution on the election they’ve lost credibility in my book not Dr Suess let’s cancel the communist court stop the communist takeover of the country no laws for illegals just Americans no laws for Democrats only conservatives must take back or Country and stop killing babies

  8. This man was in this country for 25 years, established a family, and to my knowledge had a job and no criminal record! I agree with the law; but to become a citizen and raise a family is an expensive endeavor to do both. I would like to see some mercy in the law to allow situations like this where families don’t get separated.

    1. Most of the border JUMPERS don’t THINK laws apply to them. That’s why they ALL should go through the FULL IMMIGRATION PROCESS
      READ IT,WRITE IT, SPEAK IT AND HAVE A SPONSOR, ALL OF WHICH ISN’T BEING DONE..THUS PROBLEMS, PROBLEMS, PROBLEMS!!!

    2. there is the problem.
      The law is already merciful by allowing immigrants to come into the USA. They don’t want to follow the law and enter the country legally. They don’t want to wait their turn by going through the process. They get here and expect handouts, welfare, snap, housing, schooling for their kids etc… all at the expense of the taxpayers.
      Sorry but that is not right and they need to go.
      Look around the world there are places that if someone wants to be a citizen there are channel and avenues that can be taken, some are financial some are economic but all of them require the immigrant to show that they can supports themselves.

  9. When Iwas in Japan, my ship was to move to anorther dock and port 20 miles down the coast. I did not know I was to be on the ship. I wanted to0 ride the japan train system. Which I did. It was great. Then when the ship arrived at the next dock port, I went aboard. Then I found out I was in the wrong and the immigration people were looking for me. They all were looking for me and I got a scolding. But the train ride made up for the bad times I went through..

  10. When are the American people going to open their eyes wide and see just what the democrats are doing to our country and the people of this country.

  11. What happens to you when you illegally go into Mexico to stay? They have laws & I think you’ll regret it should you survive.

  12. My question is: How did this individual acquire a “fraudulent Social Security Card” and where did the funds “he allegedly and lawfully pay into the system” for the entire time he was in the country illegally go? In addition his employer was also required to pay into the system using the “fraudulent Social Security number”.

  13. Democrats is bringing them here so they can let them vote cause they know they will vote Democrat even if they are not citizens they will let them vote that is why they are harvesting voter cards

  14. Why is there a problem? We have immigration laws, maybe we should start inforcing them. Using someone’s social security card I believe in it self is against the law.

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