Average Joe SCOTUS: Nielsen v. Preap

Mony Preap was a legal immigrant to the United States, a refugee from Cambodia. He came to the United States in 1981 with his parents. In 2006, his ass got busted with weed, and convicted of two misdemeanors as a result.

Because he’s a legal immigrant, and not a citizen, that immigration status can be revoked for certain crimes an immigrant pay commit, one of them being drug offenses.

But at the time, immigration authorities couldn’t be bothered, and did not detain him. Later, he was busted for battery, a crime that oddly does not qualify as a crime that gets you deported if you’re a non-citizen.

Thank about that. Victimless crime? “Fuck you, get out.” Straight up assault? “Nah, you’re good.”  America really needs to get its priorities straight. But back to Preap and others.

Once Preap was busted for battery, immigration decided to hold him without bail while they considered sending his ass back to Cambodia. But since the battery charge does not fall under the statute, they reverted back to his marijuana charges as justification for doing so.

Preap was like, “this is some bullshit” and filed for habeas relief, which means he wanted to be lawfully charged or released, not hanging out and chilling in jail for no good reason.

The Ninth Circuit agreed with Preap, that if the government were to hold Preap for deportation after his marijuana charge, they should have done so at the time of that charge, not years later.

The rule in question is 8 U.S. Code § 1226

Subsection C2 reads: The Attorney General shall take into custody any alien who is deportable under section 1227(a)(2)(A)(i) of this title on the basis of an offense for which the alien has been sentence [1] to a term of imprisonment of at least 1 year.

So now the SCOTUS is being asked to determine if ICE should have to detain these people immediately upon release, or if there is no such time restriction implied, and ICE can detain them whenever it decides to.

The conservative justices Roberts, Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh didn’t give a flying fuck about Preap and his bullshit argument. They decided if Preap did the crime, that he can do the time, even if it’s years later.

I think everyone understands the opposition, here. A guy does a crime, and afterwards, goes back and largely lives a decent life, he shouldn’t have to live in fear the rest of his life that one day the government will roll up on his shit and be like, “Sorry sucker. You’re out!”

But nonetheless, the right wing five didn’t give two shits, and were not willing to prevent the government from doling out justice how they see fit.

Breyer wrote a dissenting opinion, essentially feeling that this interpretation opens up Pandora’s box for the federal government to use this tool down the road, to get rid of immigrants in general outside the normal scope of the law. He’s probably right, but he lost anyway. So it doesn’t matter.

Judgement 5:4 for Nielsen

 

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