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CA2 on Retroactivity: Centurion v. Sessions

June 22, 2017 (1 min read)

Centurion v. Sessions, June 21, 2017 - "Petitioner Charles William Centurion, a lawful permanent resident of the United States, was placed in removal proceedings after a brief 2007 trip to the Dominican Republic because of a drug offense he committed in Texas in 1990. The drug offense was not finally adjudicated until 2007. Between the date of the commission of Centurion’s crime and the date of its final adjudication, Congress passed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (“IIRIRA”). Prior to IIRIRA’s passage, lawful permanent residents who left the United States for brief trips were not subject to formal admission procedures upon their return to the United States. After IIRIRA’s passage, certain lawful permanent residents returning to the United States from a brief trip abroad must seek formal admission to the United States. Invoking Vartelas v. Holder, 566 U.S. 257 (2012), and the presumption against retroactive legislation, Centurion claims that because he committed his drug offense prior to IIRIRA’s passage, he should not have been forced to seek admission to the United States after his brief vacation to the Dominican Republic in 2007. We agree and conclude that the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) should evaluate Centurion’s motions to reopen his removal proceedings and to stay his removal under the law in effect at the time of the commission of Centurion’s 1990 drug offense. Accordingly, we GRANT the petition for review, VACATE the BIA’s January 27, 2015 order, and REMAND the case to the BIA for further proceedings consistent with this opinion."

[Hats way off to Ted Cox and Alina Charniauskaya!]