Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

Supreme Court, 6-3, on Retroactivity: Vartelas v. Holder

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"This case presents a question of retroactivity not addressed by Congress: As to a lawful permanent resident convicted of a crime before the effective date of IIRIRA, which regime governs, the one in force at the time of the conviction, or IIRIRA? If the former, Vartelas’ brief trip abroad would not disturb his lawful permanent resident status. If the latter, he may be denied reentry. We conclude that the relevant provision of IIRIRA, §1101(a)(13)(C)(v), attached a new disability (denial of reentry) in respect to past events (Vartelas’ pre-IIRIRA offense, plea, and conviction). Guided by the deeply rooted presumption against retroactive legislation, we hold that §1101(a)(13)(C)(v) does not apply to Vartelas’ conviction.The impact of Vartelas’ brief travel abroad on his permanent resident status is therefore determined not by IIRIRA, but by the legal regime in force at the time of his conviction. ... Satisfied that Vartelas’ case is at least