Alien Rapists Must Be Deported

Press Releases

December 12, 2019

IRLI urges court to deport aliens guilty of child abuse

WASHINGTON—The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) has filed a brief before the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) arguing that aliens who commit aggravated statutory rape are child abusers who should be deported.

Under federal law, an alien who commits a crime of child abuse in the United States is deportable. But the U.S. Supreme Court recently held that a conviction for engaging in consensual sex with a minor who is sixteen or over does not automatically qualify as a crime of child abuse.

IRLI argues that the Supreme Court’s decision still allows immigration judges to deport convicted rapists when their crimes involve another factor in addition to their victims’ age.

For example, a statutory rape crime committed against a sixteen-year-old minor still qualifies as a crime of child abuse when the crime also involves a relationship of trust between the victim and the rapist—such as when the rapist is also the victim’s guardian—or when the rapist is significantly older than the victim.

Most courts agree. But, in some federal courts, judges hold alien rapists exempt from deportation as long as they statutorily raped a sixteen- or seventeen-year-old instead of a younger victim, even if the crime also involved other elements, such as a custody relationship between the rapist and the victim. Yet there is no reason why the United States must tolerate such aggravated statutory rape crimes, given the poor character demonstrated by the aliens who committed them.

“The Supreme Court has indicated that sex with someone who is sixteen or seventeen is only child abuse if aggravating factors are present,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “To ignore those factors—things like very large age gaps, or abuse of authority—makes no sense in our immigration system. Vulnerable American minors deserve protection from child abuse, and we hope the BIA will make that clear.”

The matter is Amicus Invitation No. 19-11-6 (B.I.A.).

For additional information, contact: Brian Lonergan • 202-232-5590 • blonergan@irli.org

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