Court: you can't deport illegal immigrants just for being drunks

Some great news for all of you in the habitual drinking class who may be worried about a visit from Immigration and Customs Enforcement this week. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that being a “drunkard” is not sufficient grounds to deport someone on the basis of having poor moral character. I’m sure we can all drink to that. (Daily Caller)

A federal appeals court struck down a U.S. immigration law that allows the government to deport someone for being a habitual drunkard, ruling Thursday the law illegally equates alcoholism with bad moral character.

“There is no rational basis to classify people afflicted by chronic alcoholism as innately lacking good moral character,” the three-panel court said in the majority opinion, citing the Equal Protection Clause in the Constitution.

Salomon Ledezma-Cosino is a Mexican citizen previously unable to appeal a deportation order, because he was found to be a habitual drunkard — at one point drinking a liter of tequila a day on average for 10 years. But if the court’s ruling stands, he’ll be able to petition the attorney general to remain in the country.

Speaking as someone who’s been known to tip back a few, even I’ll admit that a liter of tequila a day for a decade is seriously hard core. But does this mean that you are of “poor moral character” for purposes of these laws? Frankly, any time the courts begin tossing around phrases such as that when discussing non-criminal behavior I think we’re on shaky ground. So long as the person’s drinking isn’t carrying over to other actions such as domestic violence, starting fights or drunk driving at 110 mph while naked with three women in the car (calm down… it was in Florida) then decisions about character are better left to the community than the courts.

So this is a win, right? We wouldn’t want to go kicking people out who are legally entitled to be in the country over something like that. But wait… according to the official report from the court, one part of the previous sentence isn’t really true. (Emphasis added)

Ledezma-Cosino is a person who was determined to lack good moral character by virtue of his classification as a “habitual drunkard” under the statutory provision. He is a citizen of Mexico who entered the United States in 1997 without being legally admitted and has been in the country since that time except for a few brief departures. He has eight children, five of whom are United States citizens. He supports his family by working in the construction industry.

If you’ve been paying attention to the immigration debate you’re probably hearing a metaphorical phonograph needle scratching across the surface of a vinyl record about now. The guy is an illegal alien who was detained back in 2008 and was scheduled for deportation. Whether or not he has “good moral character” should have no bearing whatever on this discussion. Ledezma-Cosino could be a teetotaler who never goes near a drop of alcohol or any sort of drugs and he would still be a criminal. He apparently has one or more employers who have been breaking the law and short sheeting the tax codes for decades. Why is he still here?

We can (and probably should) have a discussion over the deportation of legal, non-citizen immigrants on the grounds of moral character and I’ll be 100% behind the court on this one. There is no point in holding such legal visitors to a higher standard of morals then we do our own citizens. But this guy is an illegal alien and we’re burning up years of court time in an argument over something which shouldn’t even be a consideration.

But if he gets to stay, there’s some other good news for Mr. Ledezma-Cosino. Depending where he lives, he should be able to get publicly funded health care! That link is from the Wall Street Journal and will provide even more proof that our immigration situation is a complete joke at present. If people want to complain about the crime and potential terrorism being imported over our borders, our own government is fully as culpable as anyone else.


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David Strom 8:01 AM on October 03, 2022