Trump Urges Congress To Step In After Supreme Court Axes Deportation Provision

Kevin Daley | Supreme Court Reporter

President Donald Trump called on Congress to enact legislation allowing the government to deport non-citizens convicted of certain felonies, after the U.S. Supreme Court found a major federal removal law unconstitutional.

A five justice majority that included Justice Neil Gorsuch found the statute was unconstitutionally vague, raising the prospect of an easy legislative fix.

“Unless Congress acts, the United States government will be unable to remove from our communities many non-citizens convicted of violent felonies, including in some cases domestic assault and battery, burglary, and child abuse,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said after the ruling.

“It is a matter of vital public safety for Congress to act now,” she added.

Trump followed Huckabee’s statement with a series of tweets.

At issue in Tuesday’s decision, Sessions v. Dimaya, was a provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) that sanctions the deportation of any non-citizen convicted of an aggravated felony. The statute includes a number of offenses that qualify as aggravated felonies and a catchall provision for any crime that “involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used.”

Justice Elena Kagan’s opinion for the Court struck down the catchall provision, given its similarity to another statute the Court overturned in 2015. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor joined her opinion in full. Gorsuch joined significant portions of the ruling and wrote a separate opinion expounding his views on a related subject.

Congress has generally struggled to affect reforms in the immigration area. Senate Democrats led a two-day shutdown to extract concessions from Republicans on DACA recipients and members of their family in mid-January. The effort ultimately failed. Other immigration compromises have failed to satisfy the president.

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