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Supreme Court hears case about deportation and crime

Permanent residency allows non-citizens the right to live and work in the United States. While permanent is right there in the name, there are exceptions for deportation. One of those reasons is when a permanent resident breaks the law-under certain conditions.

The Supreme Court heard a case on this subject earlier this week. Sessions v. Dimaya is about the Immigration and Nationality Act, a law that allows deportation for aggravated felony and crimes of violence.

Can a vague law be enforced?

The case is about the language of the law. It calls for deportation with "crimes of violence," which is an unclear term. Dimaya is a legal resident who was convicted of two burglaries that did not involve actual violence.

The Supreme Court typically looks at previous court cases when it makes a decision. When it comes to language about violence, the Court will look to a 2015 case where it was ruled that "violent felony" was too vague, thus violating the right to a fair trial.

The arguments

As Dimaya's attorney fights for his right to stay in the country, the federal government argues that it has broad enforcement of immigration laws - meaning deportation. Analysts expect a close vote among the nine Supreme Court justices. The newly appointed Neil Gorsuch may be a tiebreaker vote, and his comments show an awareness of the 2015 case, but not his view of how it relates to this case.

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