Byline: Derek Hawkins
United States Supreme Court
Case Name: Andre Martello Barton v. William P. Barr
Case No.: 18-725
Focus: Immigration Removal Order
Under the immigration laws, a noncitizen who is authorized to live permanently in the United States is a lawful permanent residentalso commonly known as a green-card holder. But unlike a U. S. citizen, a lawful permanent resident who commits a serious crime may be removed from the United States.
Andre Barton is a Jamaican national and a longtime lawful permanent resident of the United States. During his time in the United States, Barton has been convicted of state crimes on three separate occasions spanning 12 years. The crimes include a firearms offense, drug offenses, and aggravated assault offenses. By law, the firearms offense and the drug offenses each independently rendered Barton eligible for removal from the United States. In September 2016, the U. S. Government sought to remove Barton, and a U. S. Immigration Judge determined that Barton was removable.
Barton applied for cancellation of removal, a form of relief that allows a noncitizen to remain in the United States despite being found removable. The immigration laws authorize an immigration judge to cancel removal, but Congress has established strict eligibility requirements. See 8 U. S. C. 1229b(a), (d)(1)(B). For a lawful permanent resident such as Barton, the applicant for cancellation of removal (1) must have been a lawful permanent resident for at least five years; (2) must have continuously resided in the United States for at least seven years after lawful admission; (3) must not have been convicted of an aggravated felony as defined in the immigration laws; and (4) during the initial seven years of continuous residence, must not have committed certain other offenses listed in 8 U. S. C. 1182(a)(2). If a lawful permanent resident meets those eligibility requirements, the immigration judge has discretion to (but is not required to) cancel removal and allow the lawful permanent resident to remain in the United States. Under the cancellation-of-removal statute, the immigration judge examines the applicant's prior crimes, as well as the offense that triggered his removal. If a lawful permanent resident has ever been convicted of an aggravated felony, or has committed an offense listed in 1182(a)(2) during the initial seven years of residence, that...