Understanding Sexual Abuse of a Minor Offenses That Trigger Deportation

Categories: immigration


There are a number of offenses that can trigger deportation, one of which is the sexual abuse of a minor. However, until now, it might have been a little unclear of who would be considered a minor, as well as the circumstances that would result in deportation of a non-citizen.

Recently in Juan Esquivel-Quintana v. Jefferson B. Sessions, SCOTUS might have helped to narrow the category of the type of sexual abuse of minor offenses that can trigger deportation. In most cases, if someone who is not a citizen is convicted of an aggravated felony, they are subject to automatic deportation. One of the criminal charges included on the list of aggravated felony offenses is sexual abuse of a minor.

Narrowing the Definition of Sexual Abuse of a Minor

The Supreme Court determined that, when it comes down to statutory rape offenses that criminalize sexual abuse based on the participant’s age, the victim must be younger than 16. In the case involving Esquivel-Quintana, he was convicted under a statute which prohibited sexual intercourse with someone under 18 years of age, which would not be considered sexual abuse of a minor regarding the Immigration and Naturalization Act.

Unlawful Sexual Intercourse vs. Sexual Abuse of a Minor

Hopefully, this case helped to define sexual abuse of a minor according to immigration statutes, which typically references the victim’s age and not mental or physical capacity. As a result, the Court determined that the generic charge must involve a victim under the age of 16, and in order to qualify as an aggravated felony, the statute that the noncitizen is convicted under must define it in the same way. In Esquivel-Quintana’s case, the charge was for unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor who was more than three years younger, with minor defined as someone under 18.

In any event, sexual abuse of a minor is a serious charge. It’s important that details surrounding this type of offense continue to be examined carefully and taken seriously, for both citizens and noncitizens alike.

Disclaimer: This Article Is Not Legal Advice.
Never rely on an article for legal advice as the law frequently changes, information may not be accurate, there may be exceptions to a rule, and reliance may be detrimental. Always consult one of our experienced attorneys for competent, current, and accurate legal advice.

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