U.S. immigration authorities who want to deport a man convicted in a car theft case were upheld today by the Supreme Court, reports the Associated Press. The court said immigration law provides for removing someone convicted of aiding and abetting a theft offense when the term of imprisonment is at least one year. A theft offense is an aggravated felony under federal immigration law, making someone deportable.
The justices upheld the conviction of a Peruvian immigrant who was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to a state theft charge in California. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit had ruled that the conviction did not qualify as an aggravated felony under immigration law. The defendant’s attorney argued that California law created a crime category that falls outside the generic definition of theft.