Federal Court Asked to Stop the Imminent Deportation of Longtime Legal Pennsylvanian Resident

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals Has Been Asked to Intervene in the Imminent Deportation of a Longtime Married Pennsylvanian with three United States Citizen Children, Who Has Been a Lawful Permanent Resident for Nearly Twenty-Five Years.
By: Jon Stillo
Oct. 30, 2011 - PRLog -- Philadelphia, PA - The Third Circuit Court of Appeals is reviewing an emergency motion to stay the imminent deportation of Robert Bautista, a longtime Easton, Pennsylvania resident who has been a Lawful Permanent Resident for over twenty-five years.  Bautista, who is married and has three United States Citizen Children, was ordered removed in 2010 by a York, Pennsylvania Immigration Judge.  The Judge held, for the first time in American Immigration history, that Bautista’s 2001 conviction for Attempted Arson in the Third Degree in New York was an aggravated felony, as defined in America’s outdated Immigration laws.

The Immigration Judge’s decision sent shockwaves through the immigration community, and was of such significance that America’s highest immigration court—the Board of Immigration Appeals—held a rarely requested oral argument on the matter in August of 2011.  The Board recently rendering a decision in Matter of Bautista, 25 I&N Dec. 616 (BIA 2011), that agreed with the York Immigration Judge’s ruling.  Bautista’s New York conviction stems from his being caught standing next to his own vehicle carrying a gas canister.

Raymond Lahoud, Bautista’s lead deportation defense and appellate attorney, from the Easton, Pennsylvania based Immigration Law and Deportation Defense Law Firm, Baurkot & Baurkot stated that “the Board of Immigration Appeals’ decision misinterpreted federal law and the Supreme Court’s interpretation of that law when it held that Mr. Bautista’s decade old conviction was an aggravated felony under Immigration Law.”

“The Immigration Judge and the BIA held that because the words that make up the New York statute are merely contained in a federal aggravated felony statute, then the New York statue is also an aggravated felony, regardless of the fact that the New York statute is missing elements that the Federal statute clearly contains,” noted Lahoud.  “These decision are contrary to common sense, the plain meaning of the statutes as well as Supreme Court and Third Circuit Court of Appeals cases that have interpreted these statutes.  We are confident that we will prevail,” said Lahoud, who also noted that Bautista has been in immigration custody for nearly two years, and, in the process, has lost his lucrative Allentown, Pennsylvania based business as well as the family’s home.  

“The Board’s decision has created a slippery slope.  From this point forward, almost every local or state crime could be deemed an aggravated felony, given that nearly every federal aggravated felony statute has at least one word or phrase that is also in a respective local or state statute,” said Lahoud, “just like the Board ignored in Mr. Bautista’s case the extra words in the federal statute, what is to stop the Board or the Department of Homeland Security from ignoring words in other aggravated felony statutes, just to make any local or state crime an aggravated felony – a fact that essentially forecloses any real immigration relief for hundreds of thousands of immigrants facing removal.”

Through his attorneys at Baurkot & Baurkot, Mr. Bautista filed a Petition with the Third Circuit Court of Appeals requesting that the Court review the Board of Immigration Appeals’ decision, and has requested that the Court stop his imminent deportation, pending resolution of the Third Circuit’s review.  “Mr. Bautista’s removal must be stopped and the Court must review his case, given the far reaching implications that Mr. Bautista’s deportation would have on his own family as well as in the future landscape of deportation defense and immigration law as a whole,” noted Attorney Lahoud, “this case questions the very authority of the Immigration Court system and the Department of Homeland Security, particularly when their holdings contradict the decisions of the United States Supreme Court and could have adverse effects on thousands of immigrants across the United States.”

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Baurkot & Baurkot (http://www.nationalimmigrationlawyers.com/) is a leading national immigration law and deportation defense law firm, with extensive regional experience. The Baurkot Firm has over 75 years of combined legal experience, with offices in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.
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