March 29, 2012 4th Circuit published opinion

Bracamontes v Holder

Bracamontes was brought to the United States as a child. He made on trip out of the country as a temporary resident alien. He later was granted permanent status and was convicted of felony wounding. He married a citizen and they had three children together. The government sought to remove him. The immigration board held that his conviction rendered him ineligible for a hardship waiver of removal. The panel, 2-1, reversed this determination. The majority held the language of the statue is unambiguous and applied only when the conviction occurs and the person then reenters the United States. It joined the 5th, 9th and 11th Circuits in so holding. The dissent argued the statute has at least two reasonable interpretations and the court should therefore defer to the immigration board’s interpretation.

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