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CA5 on Categorical Approach: Alejos-Perez v. Garland

March 22, 2021 (1 min read)

Alejos-Perez v. Garland

"[T]o decide whether his 2018 conviction renders him removable, we need to determine whether we can parse MMB-Fubinaca from those other drugs; we decide that by determining whether Penalty Group 2-A is divisible. The government says it’s divisible, Alejos-Perez says not. ... Because the government has not shown that the modified categorical approach is called for, we apply the categorical approach. ... Because Penalty Group 2-A is not a categorical match, we must identify the appropriate result. ... Once it’s clear that Penalty Group 2-A is not a categorical match to its federal counterpart, AlejosPerez “must also show a realistic probability . . . that the State would apply its statute to conduct that falls outside the generic definition of the crime” under federal law.  We are unable to resolve that issue, because the BIA didn’t address it, and we can “only affirm the BIA on the basis of its stated rationale for ordering an alien removed from the United States.” ... We thus remand for consideration of whether Alejos-Perez has shown a realistic probability that Texas would prosecute conduct that falls outside the relevant federal statute."

[Hats off to Manoj Govindaiah and Maria Osornio of Raices Texas!]