Updated:
June 21, 2006

Whether a state conviction for drug possession that would be a misdemeanor under federal law can nonetheless be treated as an "aggravated felony" for immigration purposes, which leads to serious adverse consequences, including ineligibilitiy for political asylum and cancellation of removal.

Under the Immigration Act, anyone convicted of an "aggravated felony" suffers serious adverse consequences, including ineligibility for political asylum and cancellation of removal. "Illicit drug trafficking" is an aggravated felony. The question in this case is whether that term embraces a state conviction for drug possession that would be treated as a misdemeanor under federal law. We argue in our amicus brief that the term "trafficking," as commonly understood, requires proof of a commercial transaction and thus does not reach mere possession offenses.

Stay Informed