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Barton v. Barr

Supreme Court of the United States

November 4, 2019, Argued; April 23, 2020, Decided

No. 18-725.


Justice Kavanaugh delivered the opinion of the Court.

Under the immigration laws, a noncitizen who is authorized to live permanently in the United States is a lawful permanent resident—also commonly known as a green-card holder. But unlike a U. S. citizen, a lawful permanent resident who commits a serious crime may be removed from the United States.

Andre Barton is a Jamaican national and a longtime lawful permanent resident of the [**6]  United States. During his time in the United States, Barton has been convicted of state crimes on three separate occasions spanning 12 years. The crimes include a firearms offense, drug offenses, and aggravated assault offenses. By law, the firearms offense and the drug offenses each independently rendered Barton eligible for removal from the United States. In September 2016, the U. S. Government sought to remove Barton, and a  [*692]  U. S. Immigration Judge determined that Barton was removable.

Barton applied for ] cancellation of removal, a form of relief that allows a noncitizen to remain in the United States despite being found removable. The immigration laws authorize an immigration judge to cancel removal, but Congress has established strict eligibility requirements. See 8 U. S. C. §§1229b(a), (d)(1)(B). For a lawful permanent resident such as Barton, the applicant for cancellation of removal (1) must have been a lawful permanent resident for at least five years; (2) must have continuously resided in the United States for at least seven years after lawful admission; (3) must not have been convicted of an aggravated felony as defined in the immigration laws; and (4) during the initial seven years of continuous residence, [**7]  must not have committed certain other offenses listed in 8 U. S. C. §1182(a)(2). If a lawful permanent resident meets those eligibility requirements, the immigration judge has discretion to (but is not required to) cancel removal and allow the lawful permanent resident to remain in the United States.

] Under the cancellation-of-removal statute, the immigration judge examines the applicant’s prior crimes, as well as the offense that triggered his removal. If a lawful permanent resident has ever been convicted of an aggravated felony, or has committed an offense listed in §1182(a)(2) during the initial seven years of residence, that criminal record will preclude cancellation of removal. 1 In that way, the statute operates like traditional criminal recidivist laws, which ordinarily authorize or impose greater sanctions on offenders who have committed prior crimes.

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206 L. Ed. 2d 682 *; 2020 U.S. LEXIS 2409 **; 28 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 178


Notice: The LEXIS pagination of this document is subject to change pending release of the final published version.


Barton v. United States AG, 904 F.3d 1294, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 27353 (11th Cir., Sept. 25, 2018)

Disposition: Affirmed.


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Immigration Law, Deportation & Removal, Relief From Deportation & Removal, Cancellation of Removal, Administrative Proceedings, Grounds for Deportation & Removal, Inadmissibility, Grounds for Inadmissibility, Grounds for Deportation & Removal, Criminal Activity, Grounds for Inadmissibility, Criminal Activity, Aggravated Felonies, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation, Administrative Proceedings, Bond, Custody & Detention, Adjustment of Status, Asylum, Refugees & Related Relief, Refugee Status, Temporary Protected Status