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Immigration Law

CA3 on Costello, Chevron: Singh v. Atty. Gen.

Singh v. Atty. Gen.

"Baljinder Singh achieved what many immigrants to our country seek: he became a naturalized citizen. Unfortunately, he did so through willful misrepresentation, and, as a consequence, his citizenship was revoked. Before that revocation and while he was still a citizen, he was convicted of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute illegal drugs. That led the government to initiate removal proceedings against him, and he was in fact ordered to be removed. Singh now petitions for review of that final order of removal, arguing that the pertinent statutory provisions, by their terms, permit removal only of individuals who were “aliens” at the time of their criminal convictions, whereas he was a naturalized citizen when convicted. The government responds that we must defer to the interpretation given by the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) to those statutes and therefore must deny the petition for review. In the alternative, the government contends that Singh should be treated as if he had never been naturalized and was actually an “alien” at the time he was convicted. We disagree with both of the government’s arguments and will grant Singh’s petition for review."

[Hats off to Gintare Grigaite and John Leschak!]