June 11, 2013 – Citizen of Jamaica receives cancellation of removal, despite numerous convictions for drug-related offenses, after DHS drops “aggravated felony” charge

Facts: A citizen of Jamaica was detained by ICE in May of 2012 based on numerous drug-related convictions, the most serious of which was a conviction for possession with the intent to distribute (PWID) marijuana. His family came to the firm for help.

The Firm’s Representation:At first review of our client’s case, the outlook was bleak. DHS had charged our client with an “aggravated felony” for drug trafficking based on our client’s conviction for PWID marijuana. However, during the course of our client’s removal proceedings, on April 23, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Moncrieffe v. Holder, which held that certain convictions for PWID marijuana may, in some cases, not be “aggravated felonies.” The firm submitted a brief to the Immigration Court that asserted that Moncrieffe v. Holder was directly applicable to our client’s Maryland conviction for PWID marijuana and thus our client’s conviction for PWID marijuana was not an “aggravated felony.” DHS agreed and dropped the “aggravated felony” charge of removability. At that point, our client could proceed with his application for cancellation of removal.

Outcome: On June 11, 2013, the Immigration Judge granted our client’s application for cancellation of removal. Our client was released from ICE custody several hours later.