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CA8 on Aggravated Felony: Lopez-Chavez v. Garland

March 22, 2021 (1 min read)

Lopez-Chavez v. Garland

"In May 2017, an Immigration Judge (IJ) determined that Lopez-Chavez is ineligible for cancellation of removal because his 2006 federal conviction for illegal reentry in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1326 qualifies as an aggravated felony. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirmed the IJ’s ruling and dismissed Lopez-Chavez’s administrative appeal the following year. The question now before the court is whether Lopez-Chavez’s 2006 conviction qualifies as an aggravated felony under the INA, thus making Lopez-Chavez statutorily ineligible for cancellation of removal. We hold that it does not. ... Because Lopez-Chavez’s 2003 Missouri marijuana conviction is not a categorical match for the corresponding federal offense in 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(43)(B), the 2006 conviction for illegal reentry under § 1326 does not qualify as an aggravated felony under § 1101(a)(43)(O). Accordingly, Lopez-Chavez is not statutorily ineligible for cancellation of removal. See 8 U.S.C. § 1229b. We grant the petition for review, vacate the BIA’s order, and remand for proceedings consistent with this opinion."

[Hats off to Andrew K. Nietor!]