The ruling will affect thousands of immigrants. Many are legal U.S. residents, like James Dimaya of Hayward, California who arrived in the U.S. from the Philippines as a child in 1992 and faces possible deportation in the case.
Dimaya was convicted of first-degree residential burglaries, of a home’s garage in 2007 and an uninhabited house in 2009, and was sentenced to two years in prison on each. The government then began deportation proceedings.
Dimaya, who challenged the order, spent nearly five more years behind bars before being released on bond in March 2015, his lawyers said. They said no one had been injured in either burglary.
At issue in the case - Lynch vs. Dimaya, 15-1498 - is a 1996 law that requires deportation for noncitizens, including legal residents, who are convicted of “aggravated felonies” — those involving a “substantial risk” that force “may be used” against another person or someone else’s property.