Deporting the Pardoned

Jason A. Cade

University of Georgia Law School

August 2012

46 UC Davis Law Review 355 (2012)
NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 12-28

Federal immigration laws make noncitizens deportable on the basis of state criminal convictions. Historically, Congress implemented this scheme in ways that respected the states’ sovereignty over their criminal laws. As more recent federal laws have been interpreted, however, a state’s decision to pardon, expunge, or otherwise set-aside a conviction under state law will often have no effect on the federal government’s determination to use that conviction as a basis for deportation. While scholars have shown significant interest in state and local laws regulating immigrants, few have considered the federalism implications of federal rules that ignore a state’s authority to determine the continuing validity of its own convictions.

This Article contends that limitations on the preclusive effect of pardons, expungements, appeals, and similar post-conviction processes undermine sovereign interests in maintaining the integrity of the criminal justice system, calibrating justice, fostering rehabilitation, and deciding where to allocate resources. In light of the interests at stake, Congress should be required to clearly express its intent to override pardons and related state post-conviction procedures. A federalism-based clear statement rule for statutory provisions that restrict generally applicable criminal processes would not constrain Congress’s power to set immigration policy, because Congress remains free to make its intent clear in the statute. But the rule would ensure that Congress, rather than an administrative agency, has made the deliberative choice to upset the usual constitutional balance of federal and state power.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 67

Keywords: pardons, collateral consequences, Judulang v. Holder, Gregory v. Ashcroft, federalism, expungements, vacaturs, rehabilitation, immigration, deportation, removal, admissibility, state, criminal justice, clear statement rules, statutory construction, chevron, matter of pickering

JEL Classification: K14, K19

Open PDF in Browser Download This Paper

Date posted: May 29, 2012 ; Last revised: October 1, 2015

Suggested Citation

Cade, Jason A., Deporting the Pardoned (August 2012). 46 UC Davis Law Review 355 (2012); NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 12-28. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2070293

Contact Information

Jason A. Cade (Contact Author)
University of Georgia Law School ( email )
225 Herty Drive
Athens, GA 30602
United States
(706) 542-5188 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://www.law.uga.edu/profile/jason-cade

Feedback to SSRN

Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 1,127
Downloads: 174
Download Rank: 136,679