The Supreme Court Rejects Vastly Expanded Interpretation Of Deportation Grounds

Safe Passage, June 1, 2015

On June 1, 2015, the Supreme Court by a 7-2 vote comprehensively rejected the government’s attempt to expand deportations for convictions of crimes relating to a controlled substance, saying that the government’s approach made scant sense.  In Mellouli v. Holder, the Supreme Court rejected the government’s argument that a Kansas conviction for storing an unidentified drug in a sock should be deemed related to the federal list of controlled substances.  Because Kansas punishes storing drugs that do not appear on the federal list, the Kansas conviction did not necessarily relate to a substance on the federal list.  Following 100 years of case law, the Supreme Court required the government to use a categorical approach.  Careful analysis is often needed for any type of charge faced by a non-citizen (children and adults).

The Supreme Court’s decision is available at: