An important court case is currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, whose outcome could dramatically impact existing immigration law. Under federal law, an immigrant is subject to deportation if he or she is convicted of an aggravated felony. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) defines “aggravated felony” as, among other things, “murder, rape, or sexual abuse of a minor.” In Esquivel-Quintant v. Lynch, a 21-year-old had consensual sex with a 17-year-old, resulting in a criminal conviction under California Penal Code § 261.5(c), which makes it a crime for an adult to have sex with a person under the age of 18, if the age difference between the two people is three years or less. The major question in this case is whether the criminal conviction in this case constitutes an aggravated felony that causes the convicted individual’s automatic removal under the INA. Under federal law, the Model Penal Code, and the law of 43 states and Washington D.C., the conduct described in California Penal Code § 261.5(c) would not be illegal, and thus obviously would not fall within the definition of an “aggravated felony.” However, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) ruled that the criminal conviction in this case constituted “sexual abuse of a minor” referred to in the definition of “aggravated felony.” As a result, the BIA found that the convicted individual was not entitled to seek discretionary relief from removal under the INA. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has also agreed, deferring to the BIA’s interpretation of the crime at issue. Whether the U.S. Supreme Court chooses to review this case is still an open question. Regardless of the outcome, however, the deportation defense lawyers of Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C., focus all of their efforts on defending those individuals who are facing deportation charges. We will examine the facts in your case, present which options are available to you, and then obtain the information needed to build the strongest defense to removal possible in your situation. Having a strong advocate on your side early on in the removal process can be the key to success. Please don’t hesitate to call us today and learn about the different avenues of relief that we can pursue in your deportation case.