[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] ruled Wednesday that an alien convicted for aiding and abetting a theft offense can be deported under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) [USCIS backgrounder]. In Gonzales v. Duenas-Alvarez [Duke Law case backgrounder], Luis Alexander Duenas-Alvarez, a legal permanent resident, pleaded guilty to the unlawful driving or taking of a vehicle in violation of California law - Cal. Veh. Code Ann. §10851(a) [text] - and the Department of Homeland Security took steps to remove him from the country under the INA, specifically under 8 USC §1101(a)(43)(G) [text]. The immigration judge hearing the case and the Board of Immigration Appeals dismissed Duenas-Alvarez's appeal, but the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit disagreed [opinion text] in light of its recent decision in Penuliar v. Ashcroft [PDF text], where the Ninth Circuit held that violating §10851(a) of the California Vehicle Code is not a theft offense under the INA.
The Supreme Court vacated the lower court decision, concluding that the Ninth Circuit "erred" in "holding that 'aiding and abetting' a theft is not itself a crime that falls within the generic definition of theft." Read the Court's opinion per Justice Breyer, along with a concurrence in part and dissent in part [text] per Justice Stevens. AP has more.