Criminal Defense of Immigrants
§ 19.21 H. Effective Date Analysis
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In order to trigger a particular immigration consequence, such as deportation on account of an aggravated felony conviction, the conviction must have occurred after the effective date of the statute that attaches the specific immigration consequence to the aggravated felony conviction. In general, after IIRAIRA, a conviction qualifies as an aggravated felony even if it was committed prior to the inclusion within the aggravated felony statute of the aggravated felony category in which it falls. Counsel can argue that applying the aggravated felony definition statute retroactively to include a conviction occurring prior to its listing in the statute violates Due Process. If the aggravated felony conviction is an element of a criminal offense, such as illegal re-entry, the Ex Post Facto clauses of the Constitution prohibit retroactive application of the definition to a conviction that was not listed as an aggravated felony on the date the illegal re-entry offense was committed. Because immigration cases are civil, not criminal, the Ex Post Facto protection does not apply in immigration proceedings. See § 19.21(C), (D), infra.
 See, e.g., United States v. Koziel, 954 F.2d 831, 834 (2d Cir. 1992) (ex post facto protections not applicable to deportation).
AGGRAVATED FELONY " EFFECTIVE DATE " EX POST FACTO RULES DO NOT APPLY TO REMOVAL CONTEXT
Morris v. Holder, 676 F.3d 309, 317 (2d Cir. Apr. 23, 2012) (the Supreme Court's decision in Padilla v. Kentucky, 130 S.Ct. 1473 (2010), did not overturn our [Second Circuit] precedent holding that the Ex Post Facto Clause of the United States Constitution, U.S. Const. art. I, 9, cl. 3, is not applicable in the deportation and removal context.).
AGGRAVATED FELONY - RETROACTIVITY
Biskupski v. Attorney Gen. of the US, __ F.3d __, 2007 WL 2774528 (3d Cir. Sept. 25, 2007) (aggravated felony definition not impermissibly retroactive; the term "actions taken" in section 321(c) of IIRAIRA refers to orders and decisions of an IJ or the BIA to apply "aggravated felony" definition, not to actions taken by the noncitizen).
AGGRAVATED FELONIES " RETROACTIVITY
Mondragon v. Holder, 706 F.3d 535, (4th Cir. Jan. 31, 2013) (retroactive application of 1996 expansion of aggravated felony definition to convictions predating its effective date did not violate the Constitution).
AGGRAVATED FELONY - EFFECTIVE DATE
Garrido-Morato v. Gonzales, ___ F.3d ___ (5th Cir. April 24, 2007) (the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act amendments that made harboring aliens an aggravated felony are not impermissibly retroactive).
AGGRAVATED FELONY - RETROACTIVITY - EFFECTIVE DATE - ISSUANCE OF DHS ARREST WARRANT CONSTITUTES "ACTION TAKEN" TRIGGERING APPLICATION OF PRE-IIRIRA DEFINITION OF AGGRAVATED FELONY
Saqr v. Holder, 580 F.3d 414 (6th Cir. Sept. 9, 2009) (issuance of OSC by the INS, which has not been cancelled, constitutes an "action taken" for purposes of triggering application of the pre-IIRIRA definition of aggravated felony); see Alanis-Bustamante v. Reno, 201 F.3d 1303, 1310 (11th Cir.2000) (concluding that "[c]onsiderations of fairness convince us that for purposes of deciding which law applies, the removal proceedings in this case should be viewed as commencing at least on that date ... when the show cause order had been served and the warrant of detainer lodged"); Wallace v. Reno, 194 F.3d 279, 287 (1st Cir.1999) (finding that in the context of waiver to deportation proceedings, "when an order to show cause is served on the alien, the deportation process has effectively begun"); but see Garrido-Morato v. Gonzales, 485 F.3d 319, 324 (5th Cir.2007) (concluding that a guilty plea taken before the enactment of IIRIRA is insufficient to trigger application of the pre-IIRIRA definition of aggravated felony because the triggering event must be an action taken under the statute and stating that "the definition of aggravated felony is to be applied retroactively with respect to any action taken that implicates 321"). NOTE: the noncitizen in this case was later issued an NTA, which was filed with the immigration court post IIRIRA. However, the original OSC (which was never filed with the court) was not "cancelled" prior to filing the NTA.
AGGRAVATED FELONY - RETROACTIVITY
Morgan v. Keisler, __ F.3d __, 2007 WL 3131687 (6th Cir. Oct. 29, 2007) (relief under INA 212(c) is not available to a noncitizen convicted of an aggravated felony between April 24, 1996 and April 1, 1997, even if the offense was not considered an aggravated felony at the time of conviction).
AGGRAVATED FELONY - FIREARMS OFFENSE - CLAIM OF SPORTING USE EXCEPTION REJECTED
Alvarado v. Gonzales, 484 F.3d 535 (8th Cir. April 17, 2007) (per curiam) (federal conviction of possession of firearms and ammunition by an unlawful user of a controlled substance, under 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(3), constituted aggravated felony firearms conviction, for purposes of removal and cancellation of removal, despite the alleged sporting purpose of the guns at issue).
AGGRAVATED FELONY " DEPORTATION GROUND " EFFECTIVE DATE " AN AGGRAVATED FELONY CONVICTION OCCURRING PRIOR TO NOVEMBER 18, 1988 DOES NOT TRIGGER DEPORTATION
Reyes-Torres v. Holder, ___ F.3d ___, ___, 2011 WL 1312570 (9th Cir. Apr. 7, 2011) (the aggravated felony ground of deportation does not apply to convictions such as the 1984 conviction in this case that were entered prior to the date the aggravated felony definition was enacted, November 18, 1988: In Ledezma-Garcia, we held that 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii) does not apply to convictions that occurred prior to the enactment of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988.).
AGGRAVATED FELONY - EFFECTIVE DATE - CONVICTIONS OCCURRING PRIOR TO NOVEMBER 18, 1988, DO NOT TRIGGER DEPORTATION GROUND
Ledezma-Garcia v. Holder, 599 F.3d 1055 (9th Cir. Mar. 22, 2010) (although the "aggravated felony" definition applies regardless of the date of conviction, an aggravated felony conviction occurring prior to November 18, 1988 does not trigger deportability under INA 237(a)(2)(A)(iii), 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii)), overruling Matter of Lettman, 22 I. & N. Dec. 365 (BIA 1998) (en banc).
AGGRAVATED FELONY - EFFECTIVE DATE - ILLEGAL REENTRY - SENTENCE - AGGRAVATED FELONY CONVICTIONS TRIGGER SENTENCE ENHANCEMENT REGARDLESS OF DATE OF CONVICTION
United States v. Olmos-Esparza, 484 F.3d 1111 (9th Cir. April 24, 2007) (district court did not err by considering convictions from 1972 and 1976 in calculating illegal reentry sentencing enhancements under USSG 2L1.2), (USSG 2L1.2 contains no time limitation on the age of convictions for purposes of calculating sentencing enhancements); accord, United States v. Torres-Duenas, 461 F.3d 1178, 1181-82 (10th Cir.2006), petition for cert. filed November 22, 2006 (No. 06-7990); United States v. Camacho-Ibarquen, 410 F.3d 1307, 1312-13 (11th Cir.), cert. denied, 126 S.Ct. 457 (2005).
AGGRAVATED FELONY - RETROACTIVITY
Although the Ninth Circuit held that only convictions after November 18, 1988, the effective date of the ADAA, could be considered aggravated felonies, see Ayala-Chavez v. INS, 945 F.2d 288 (9th Cir.1991), Congress effectively overruled that decision when it passed the Miscellaneous and Technical Immigration and Naturalization Amendments of 1991, Pub.L. No. 102-232 (December 12, 1991) amending the Immigration Act of 1990, Pub.L. No. 101-649 (November 29, 1990). These Amendments provided, among other things, that convictions before 1988 could also qualify as aggravated felonies. 105 Stat. at 1752, 306(a)(13). These Amendments are effective as though they were part of the 1990 Immigration Act. Pub.L. No. 102-232, 105 Stat. at 1759, 310.