Drug Possession is Not Grounds for Deportation

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The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that simple possession of drugs cannot be grounds for deportation of a permanent resident or a person awaiting political asylum, La Opinión reports.

The ruling came after a review of the 1996 case, Jose Carachuri-Rosendo vs. Holder, in which an immigration court in Texas initiated deportation proceedings against Rosendo, a legal resident, for the possession of a prescription pill for anxiety and a joint. The justices ruled unanimously, that his offense was a minor crime.

Under the laws of criminal justice, the court ruled, the possession of drugs is considered to be a minor or non-criminal offense, which is how it should be viewed under immigration laws as well. The Supreme Court also established that intent to sell or distribute should be factored into any ruling.

Manuel Vargas of the Immigrant Defense Project, a New York-based organization that helped in the defense of Carachuri, said, “The decision might impact any immigrant who has been accused more than once for possession of drugs, and there are thousands of persons who are in this category."

"We like the decision of the Court," said Jorge Mario Cabrera, a spokesman of MUSSEL, a group dedicated to the legal defense of immigrants. “Not all social problems can be solved by deporting immigrants." he said.