Via the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program

HIRC’s Crimmigration Clinic, directed by Philip Torrey, recently co-authored an amicus curiae brief with Professor Kari E. Hong of Boston College Law School on behalf of immigration law scholars. The brief was filed in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of a petition asking the full court to reconsider its prior decision in a case that significantly expanded a specific crime-based deportation ground.

The amicus brief argues for a narrow interpretation of the “crime of child abuse” removal ground that is more in line with the ground’s purpose to target child predators for removal. In doing so, the brief illustrates the over-inclusive nature of the removal ground’s current interpretation by immigration authorities, which may sweep in relatively minor conduct, including “free-range” parenting and child endangerment statutes that Congress did not intend to result in the deportation. To be clear, child abuse has no place in our society, but the current broad interpretation of the statute may render the parent who allows an older child to walk a half-mile home from a park a child abuser and, therefore, subject to deportation and permanent separation from her family. The brief argues that Congress did not intend to target that type of conduct.

The full brief is available here.