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http://ssrn.com/abstract=774866
 
 

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A War on Drugs or a War on Immigrants? Expanding the Definition of 'Drug Trafficking' in Determining Aggravated Felon Status for Non-Citizens


Jeff Yates


Binghamton University - Department of Political Science

Gabriel J. Chin


University of California, Davis - School of Law

Todd A. Collins


Western Carolina University - Political Science


Maryland Law Review, 2005

Abstract:     
In this article we assess competing interpretations of the Immigration and Nationalization Act's 'aggravated felony' provisions, specifically the determination of what state drug offenses properly constitute 'aggravated felonies,' thus subjecting non-citizens to deleterious collateral immigration consequences, including deportation. This issue is considered within the broader political and social context of the nation's 'war on drugs' and wide-ranging trends in American immigration policy. We argue that state drug offenses should be analogous to the traditional federal characterizations of a felony (i.e. yielding more than a year of imprisonment) in order to be appropriately considered aggravated felonies. We conclude that interpretations of the aggravated felony provisions that allow offenses falling below this threshold to be considered aggravated felonies are misguided, lead to unwarranted collateral immigration consequences for non-citizens, and fit within a broader pattern of inordinate burden sharing in the war on drugs by historically disempowered groups.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 42

Keywords: Immigration, crime, criminal, aggravated felony, felony, alien, deportation, drugs, narcotics, prosecution, public policy, law, legal, economic, states, statutory interpretation, constitutional, federalism, war, equity, president, congress, politics, racial, discrimination

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Date posted: August 10, 2005 ; Last revised: October 27, 2008

Suggested Citation

Yates, Jeff and Chin, Gabriel J. and Collins, Todd A., A War on Drugs or a War on Immigrants? Expanding the Definition of 'Drug Trafficking' in Determining Aggravated Felon Status for Non-Citizens. Maryland Law Review, 2005. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=774866

Contact Information

Jeff L. Yates (Contact Author)
Binghamton University - Department of Political Science ( email )
Binghamton, NY 13902
United States
607-777-2296 (Phone)
Gabriel Jackson Chin
University of California, Davis - School of Law ( email )
Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall
Davis, CA 95616-5201
United States
520-401-6586 (Phone)
530-754-5311 (Fax)

Todd A. Collins
Western Carolina University - Political Science ( email )
United States
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