Promotion 24/7 with CaribPR

By Felicia J. Persaud

News Americas, FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Fri. Dec. 2, 2022: A Jamaican immigrant fighting deportation is suing the U.S. Attorney General in the Supreme Court over the constitutionally of the term “crime involving moral turpitude.”

The case dates back to a 2018 deportation order for Everton Daye, who had served time in prison following a 2013 conviction on two substantive counts of transporting one ounce or more of cocaine and five pounds of marijuana into Virginia with the intent to sell or distribute the substance, in violation of Virginia law.

Daye had previously migrated to the US on a visitor’s visa from Jamaica in 2008 and became a lawful permanent resident after marrying a U.S. citizen in 2009.

U.S. immigration officials brought removal proceedings against Daye under the federal law that lists a “crime of moral turpitude” as grounds for deportation. The agency ordered Daye be sent back to Jamaica.

Emphasizing its longstanding position that “evil intent is inherent in the illegal distribution of drugs,” the agency had determined that Daye’s marijuana convictions were for crimes involving moral turpitude.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit upheld Daye’s deportation order and concluded that it lacked any authority to overturn the agency’s decision as long as the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Jordan v. De George remains on the books.

That case involved an immigrant of Italy one question: whether conspiracy to defraud the United States of taxes on distilled spirits is a ‘crime involving moral turpitude’ within the meaning of the Immigration Act of 1917.

But Daye and his attorneys have now taken the case all the way to the Supreme Court, asking the justices to overrule De George. Daye argues, but courts are hopelessly divided over which illegal acts other than fraud – such as marijuana possession – are crimes involving moral turpitude. The result, Daye contends, is that the fate of “tens of thousands” of people facing deportation rests on the varying moral compasses of individual judges.

The Petitions of the Week column highlights a selection of cert petitions recently filed in the Supreme Court. A list of all petitions we’re watching is available here.

In its 1951 decision in Jordan v. De George, the Supreme Court held that the term “crime involving moral turpitude” in federal immigration law is not unconstitutionally vague. The term lacks any statutory definition, however, and courts around the country have since struggled to apply it evenly and frequently criticized its existence. This week, we highlight cert petitions that ask the court to consider, among other things, whether to overrule De George and abandon crimes involving moral turpitude to the dustbin of history.

Everton Daye received a visa to move from Jamaica to the United States in 2008. He became a lawful permanent resident after marrying a U.S. citizen the following year. When Daye was convicted under Virginia law on three charges of bringing marijuana into the state, immigration officials brought removal proceedings against him under the federal law that lists a “crime of moral turpitude” as grounds for deportation. The agency ordered Daye be sent back to Jamaica.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit upheld Daye’s deportation order. Emphasizing its longstanding position that “evil intent is inherent in the illegal distribution of drugs,” the agency had determined that Daye’s marijuana convictions were for crimes involving moral turpitude. The 11th Circuit concluded that it lacked any authority to overturn the agency’s decision as long as De George remains on the books.

In Daye v. Garland, Daye asks the justices to overrule De George. That decision involved someone who defrauded the government of taxes, Daye argues, but courts are hopelessly divided over which illegal acts other than fraud – such as marijuana possession – are crimes involving moral turpitude. The result, Daye contends, is that the fate of “tens of thousands” of people facing deportation rests on the varying moral compasses of individual judges.

Whether the court should overturn Jordan v. De George and hold that the phrase “crime involving moral turpitude” is unconstitutionally vague as it is used in US immigration law is left to be seen.

On Nov. 15th, the court granted a motion to extend the time to file a response is granted and the time is extended to December 16, 2022.

The writer is publisher of NewsAmericasNow.com – The Black Immigrant Daily News.

Digital Marketing by Hard Beat Communications Save 50.0% on select products from Lash Doll with promo code 50LOIM2U, through 6/27 while supplies last.