- Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
- Area(s) of Law: Immigration
- Date Filed: 12-08-2022
- Case #: 13-73719
- Judge(s)/Court Below: Ikuta, J. for the Court; Collins, J., concurring; Wardlaw, J., dissenting; Murguia, C.J.; McKeown, J.; Gould, J.; Callahan, J.; Smith, J.; Burnatay, J.; Koh, J.; & Sanchez, J.
- Full Text Opinion
Removal proceedings were initiated based on Petitioner’s state conviction of a “crime of child abuse” for placing a child, “likely to produce great bodily harm or death[,] . . . in a situation where [their] person or health is endangered.” 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(E)(i); Cal. Penal Code § 273a(a). The federal offense does not define “crime of child abuse.” § 1227(a)(2)(E)(i). The immigration judge agreed with the government, and the BIA agreed the state conviction met the definition of child abuse under the generic federal removal offense. Petitioner appeals. After identifying the elements of both offenses, but only the “least” criminalized acts by the state, the court determines if the state offense is a “categorical match” to the generic federal offense: if the state offense is broader than the federal, the conviction does not count. See Moncrieffe v. Holder, 569 U.S. 184, 191 (2013) (cleaned up); Descamps v. United States, 570 U.S. 254, 261 (2013). If an ambiguous term is open to multiple usages, the court will defer to the BIA’s “permissible construction.” Chevron, U.S.A., Inc. v. NRDC, 467 U.S. 837 (1984). Utilizing tools of statutory construction, the court concluded the elements of the state offense could match dictionary definitions of “child abuse,” which is consistent with the structure of the surrounding statute but still ambiguous in light of related federal and state statutes. See Esquivel-Quintana v. Sessions, 137 S. Ct. 1562, 1570-71 (2017); INS v. Cardoza-Fonesca, 480 U.S. 421, 431 (1987); 18 U.S.C. § 5119c(3). The BIA’s interpretation is entitled to deference because it is within the “reasonable bounds of interpretation” and in line with the “text, nature, and purpose of the statute.” City of Arlington v. FCC, 569 U.S. 290, 296 (2013); Cuozzo Speed Techs., LLC v. Lee, 579 U.S. 261, 277 (2016). Affirmed.