Copyright (c) 2009 Washington Law Review Association
Washington Law Review
COMMENT: NINTH CIRCUIT V. BOARD OF IMMIGRATION APPEALS: DEFINING "SEXUAL ABUSE OF A MINOR" AFTER ESTRADA-ESPINOZA V. MUKASEY
WASHINGTON LAW REVIEW
84 Wash. L. Rev. 523
Juan Estrada-Espinoza had lived in the United States since he was twelve years old. 4 He was a lawful permanent resident - a greencard holder. 5 Juan first met Sonia Arredondo in 2001 when he was twenty and she was sixteen. 6 They soon developed a relationship, moved in together and began raising their child together. 7 Both of their parents approved of and supported their relationship, as did their friends. 8 The District Attorney of their small town, however, felt otherwise. 9 In 2004, after Sonia had turned eighteen, Juan was charged with statutory rape, convicted on four counts, 10 and sentenced to 365 days in jail. 11 Juan faced the jarring prospect of deportation due to his conviction for sexual abuse of a minor, an aggravated felony under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). 12 In 2005, an immigration judge, relying on Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) precedent, ordered Juan deported for having consensual sex with his underage girlfriend. 13 The order was affirmed by the BIA. 14 Three years later, in Estrada-Espinoza v. Mukasey, the Ninth Circuit declined to follow the BIA and held that Juan was not deportable. 15
Deportation 16 due to an aggravated felony carries severe immigration consequences, including a complete bar on returning to the United States. 17 In Juan's case, this would have meant never again visiting the country where he had spent nearly two decades of his life, the family he had nurtured here, or the friends and connections ...
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