U.S. justices weigh immigrant’s bid to avoid deportation over sex conviction

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By Lawrence Hurley

<span class="articleLocation”>The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday considered a
Mexican immigrant’s claim that he should not be deported for
having consensual sex with his under-age girlfriend, with
several justices indicating sympathy for his plight.

The case involving Juan Esquivel-Quintana, a lawful
permanent U.S. resident who came to the country at age 12, was
argued before the eight justices as President Donald Trump’s
administration plans to ramp up deportations and broaden the
categories of immigrants targeted.

Juan Esquivel-Quintana was arrested in 2009 and convicted
under California law for having sex with his 16-year-old
girlfriend when he was 20 and 21 years old. The California law
says it is a criminal offense for an adult to have sex with
anyone under 18 when the age difference between the two is more
than three years. Six other states have similar laws.

The legal fight concerns whether his conduct means he is
subject to deportation under federal immigration law, which says
any immigrant convicted of “sexual abuse of a minor” can be
deported.

During the one-hour oral argument, several of the eight
justices, including liberals Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer,
indicated they believe Esquivel-Quintana’s actions did not fit
within the definition of the immigration law.

Lawyers for the Trump administration took over
Esquivel-Quintana’s case from the administration of President
Barack Obama after the Supreme Court agreed to hear his appeal
of a January 2016 ruling by the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals in favor of the government.



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