Everybody in the Tent: Lessons from the Grassroots About Labor Organizing, Immigrants, and Temporary Worker Policies

by Leticia M. Saucedo
in Social Science Research Network (2014)

In this Article we assess competing interpretations of the Immigration and Nationality Act's aggravated felony provisions, specifically the determination of what state drug offenses properly constitute aggravated felonies, thus subjecting noncitizens to deleterious collateral immigration consequences, including deportation. This issue is considered within the broader political and social context of the nation's "war on drugs" and wide-ranging trends in American immigration policy. We argue that state drug offenses should be analogous to the traditional ftderal characterizations of a felony (i.e., yielding more than a year of imprisonment) in order to be appropriately considered aggravated felonies. We conclude that interpretations of the aggravated felony provisions that allow offenses falling below this threshold to be considered aggravated felonies are misguided, lead to unwarranted collateral immigration consequences for noncitizens, and fit within a broader pattern of inordinate burden sharing by historically disempowered groups in the war on drugs.

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