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Our Immigration Law Blog

By The Grotas Firm, PC

Important Immigration Law Update: BIA holds that the intent to distribute proceeds of a drug enterprise is not an aggravated felony

The intent to distribute the proceeds of an unlawful drug enterprise in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1952(a)(1)(A) (2006) is not an “aggravated felony” under section 101(a)(43)(B). This  change in legal precedent  provides a safe haven for federal defense attorneys to advise clients of an offense that will not ensure automatic deportation. A plea to an aggravated felony is considered “automatic deportation” because there is virtually no relief that a client can assert.

The BIA held, “the offense is not an aggravated felony under the ‘illicit trafficking’ clause of section 101(a)(43)(B) because it does not involve ‘unlawful trading or dealing’ in federally controlled substances, Matter of Davis, 20 I&N Dec. 536, 541 (BIA 1992), but rather involves conduct engaged in after such unlawful trading or dealing has been consummated.  Although distribution of proceeds is an integral part of a drug organization’s business, such conduct is too distinct from the actual physical distribution of drugs to be considered an “illicit trafficking” aggravated felony.  Matter of Ivan Enedelio FLORES-Aguirre, 26 I&N Dec. 155 (BIA 2013).

Here is a link to the full decision

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