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US Supreme Court: Immigrants can be deported for filing false tax return

By Pat Murphy
Dolan Newswires

Resident aliens committed a deportable offense by filing a false tax return that resulted in the federal government sustaining a loss in revenue in excess of $10,000, the U.S Supreme Court has ruled in a 6-3 decision.

Federal law provides that any alien who is convicted of an “ag­gravated felony” is subject to deportation.

Under 8 U.S.C. §1101(a)(43)(M)(i), an aggravated felony includes an offense that “involves fraud or deceit in which the loss to the victim or vic­tims exceeds $10,000.”

In this case, the defendants are a husband and wife who are resident aliens. The husband pleaded guilty to filing a false corporate tax return and the wife pleaded guilty to aiding and assisting in the preparation of a false tax return. The federal government subsequently commenced deportation proceedings, alleging that the defendants committed aggravated felonies within the meaning of federal law.

The defendants argued that their offenses did not involve “fraud or deceit” under §1101(a)(43)(M)(i).

The Court disagreed, explaining that the “ele­ments of willfully making and subscribing a false corpo­rate tax return, in violation of 26 U. S. C. §7206(1), and of aiding and assisting in the preparation of a false tax re­turn, in violation of 26 U. S. C. §7206(2), establish that those crimes are deportable offenses because they neces­sarily entail deceit.”

Further, the Court rejected the defendants’ argument that §1101(a)(43)(M)(i) could not be read as applying to tax crimes given that a companion subsection, §1101(a)(43)(M)(ii), expressly addresses tax evasion.

“Congress’ decision to tailor Clause (ii)’s language to match the sole type of offense covered by Clause (ii) does not demonstrate that Congress also in­tended to implicitly circumscribe the broad scope of Clause (i)’s plain language,” the Court said.

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the majority opinion. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg wrote a dissent in which Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan joined.

U.S. Supreme Court. Kawashima v. Holder, No. 10-577.


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