The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled Tuesday that child endangerment convictions are deportable offenses and apply retroactively. Jose Esteban Marquez, the man in question, is now subject to removal proceedings to the Dominican Republic.
The issue arises out of an incident in 2006 where Marquez was “accused of engaging in sexual misconduct with a girl under the age of seventeen … charged with two counts of rape in the third degree, one count of sexual misconduct, and one count of endangering the welfare of a child.” Under a plea agreement, Marquez was only found guilty of child endangerment, receiving three years of probation and a five-year order of protection.
In 2017, the US initiated removal proceedings against Marquez, citing the charge of child endangerment. Marquez argued that his violation does not meet the required federal categorization as a “crime of child abuse.” Additionally, Marquez, who has been in the US since he was eight years old, argued that he has little family in the Dominican Republic and would face hardships if deported.
However, the court rejected his arguments. First, they noted the severity of his actions and his 12 other arrests as evidence of “a history of antisocial behavior.” Regarding categorization, the court cited a 2010 decision that gave discretion to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), who determined that child endangerment charges were crimes of child abuse even if no harm occurred.
Marquez further argued that because the ruling did not occur until 2010, he is facing retroactive punishment without fair warning. The court again rejected his argument, finding that the BIA was merely attempting to “fill a void in an unsettled area of law” rather than creating an entirely new standard.