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CA11 on Plain Meaning: Hylton v. Atty. Gen.

April 01, 2021 (1 min read)

Hylton v. Atty. Gen.

"This petition for review requires us to decide whether a denaturalized alien is removable as an aggravated felon based on convictions entered while he was an American citizen. The Board of Immigration Appeals ordered Matthew Hylton removed as an alien convicted of aggravated felonies after his admission to the United States. But unlike most aggravated felons facing removal, Hylton was a citizen when he was convicted. Federal law provides that “[a]ny alien who is convicted of an aggravated felony at any time after admission is deportable.” 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii) (emphasis added). By its plain terms, this provision does not apply to aliens who were citizens when convicted. So its plain meaning forecloses the Board’s interpretation, and binding precedent, Costello v. Immigr. & Naturalization Serv., 376 U.S. 120 (1964), forecloses treating Hylton’s denaturalization as retroactive for removal purposes. We grant Hylton’s petition for review, vacate the decision of the Board, and remand for further proceedings."

[Hats way off to H. Glenn Fogle, Jr.!]