Judging Immigration Equity: Deportation and Proportionality in the Supreme Court

80 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2016 Last revised: 2 Feb 2017

See all articles by Jason A. Cade

Jason A. Cade

University of Georgia School of Law

Date Written: March 11, 2016


Though it has not directly said so, the United States Supreme Court cares about proportionality in the deportation system. Or at least it thinks someone in the system should be considering the justifiability of removal decisions. As this Article demonstrates, the Court’s jurisprudence across a range of substantive and procedural challenges over the last fifteen years increases or preserves structural opportunities for equitable balancing at multiple levels in the deportation process. Notably, the Court has endorsed decision makers’ consideration of the normative justifiability of deportation even where noncitizens have a criminal history or lack a formal path to lawful status. This proportionality-based lens helps unify the Court’s seemingly disparate decisions regulating the immigration enforcement system in recent years. It also has implications for deferred action enforcement programs such as the DACA program implemented by President Obama in 2012. The Court’s general gravitation toward proportionality analysis in this field is sound. Nevertheless, there are drawbacks to the Court’s approach, and the cases are probably best seen as signals to the political branches that the deportation system remains in dire need of wide-ranging reform.

Keywords: immigration, deportation, proportionality, DACA, DAPA, Supreme Court, enforcement discretion, crime, criminality, categorical approach, due process, Arizona, SB 1070, Moncrieffe, Judulang, Padilla, Torres, Texas, Mellouli, Carachuri-Rosendo, Kucana, Mata, Dada, St. Cyr, Vartelas, Nijhawan, Rodriguez

JEL Classification: K14, K23, K33, K40, K41, K42, D73, J61, F22, L22

Suggested Citation

Cade, Jason A., Judging Immigration Equity: Deportation and Proportionality in the Supreme Court (March 11, 2016). 50 UC Davis Law Review 1029 (2017), Dean Rusk International Law Center Research Paper No. 2016-15, UGA Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2016-32, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2834088

Jason A. Cade (Contact Author)

University of Georgia School of Law ( email )

225 Herty Drive
Athens, GA 30602
United States
(706) 542-5209 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.uga.edu/profile/jason-cade

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics