New York Lawyer's Legal Updates

NYPL 220.31 Is Not An Aggravated Felony

Author: Criminal Immigration Attorney Alena Shautsova

An aggravated felony is a term of art that caused many to be deported and forever barred to come back to the United States. It first was used by the Congress in 1988, and from that time on, the Immigration law in the United States was changed forever. One can see which crimes are included on the “aggravated felony” list here.

A person may be convicted of an aggravated felony on a federal level or a state level. If a person has a State law conviction, however, it is not always clear whether he/she was in fact convicted of an aggravated felony or just a “bad” crime. A scrupulous legal analysis is needed to determine that issue.

The lawyers take a conviction statute (its language) and analyze if the state law language matches the Federal law language. Such an analysis was performed in case of Habrin v. Sessions, (2nd Cir, June 21, 2017). The Federal Court for the 2nd Circuit determined that a conviction of sale of a controlled substance under NYPL 220.31 is not an aggravated felony. What happened, in that case, is a green card holder was put into removal proceedings and applied for a cancellation of removal for permanent residents. He was initially disqualified because the government determined that his conviction under NYPL 220.31 was an aggravated felony (under the law an aggravated felony conviction disqualifies an applicant from many immigration benefits, including cancellation of removal, citizenship, and asylum). However, the highest court determined that the government was incorrect.

It means that all those, within the jurisdiction of the 2nd Circuit, who have NYPL 220.31 conviction and were disqualified based on that conviction for certain benefits or were deported, may now have a chance of resolving their immigration situation, provided all other qualifications are met.

If you have a question about your Immigration eligibility in connection with Criminal chargers, please call 917-885-2261.

18 September 2017
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