Iris Bennett


The Unconstitutionality of Nonuniform Immigration Consequences of “Aggravated Felony” Convictions

Iris Bennett

In this Note, Iris Bennett analyzes the “aggravated felony” provision of the Imimigration and Nationality Act, which requires the deportation of noncitizens convicted of a number of crimes under federal or state law. Bennett discusses the implications of the provision in light of the Constitution’s Naturalization Clause, which requires a “uniform Rule.” She argues that the aggravated felony provision, as amended in 1996 by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, results in nonuniform immigration consequences for state criminal convictions because of varying state standards and definitions. After surveying courts’ treatment of the constitutional provisions for uniformity in immigration, taxation, and bankruptcy law, Bennett demonstrates that the jurisprudence of the uniformity requirement in immigration law is in need of further elaboration. She argues that the Naturalization Clause requires that the operation of immigration law not vary based on differences in state law and proposes a doctrinal model of constitutional uniformity for courts confronting this issue.