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CA7 on Divisibility - Najera-Rodriguez v. Barr

June 05, 2019 (1 min read)

Najera-Rodriguez v. Barr

"Whether the Xanax possession conviction made Najera-Rodriguez removable depends on whether the Illinois criminal law under which he was convicted, 720 ILCS 570/402(c), is “divisible” for purposes of applying the “modified categorical approach” under the elaborate and sometimes technical body of law that has developed under federal recidivism statutes and their immigration law analogs. See, e.g., Mejia Galindo v. Sessions, 897 F.3d 894, 896 (7th Cir. 2018) (summarizing “categorical” and “modified categorical” approaches and “divisibility” as applied to removal of lawful permanent resident under § 1227(a)(2)(B)(i)), citing Mellouli v. Lynch, 135 S. Ct. 1980, 1986–87 & n.3 (2015) (holding that categorical method applies to questions under § 1227(a)(2)(B)(i)). As we explain below, 720 ILCS 570/402(c) is not divisible, so Najera-Rodriguez’s conviction does not render him removable. We therefore grant his petition for judicial review, vacate the removal order, and remand this case to the Board of Immigration Appeals."

[Hats off to Chuck Roth at NIJC and Colleen Campbell and E. Brantley Webb at Mayer Brown's DC office!]