Don’t Run Away from Cops!

Thinking about running away from the cops? If you are an immigrant, you should think twice before you do . The Eleventh Circuit ruled recently that aggravated fleeing under Florida Statute 316.1935(4)(a) is an aggravated felony for immigration purposes.

The Respondent appealed the Board’s decision upholding the immigration judge’s decision ordering his removal. He was convicted of aggravated fleeing under Florida Statute 316.1935(4)(a) and sentenced to five years imprisonment after he violated his probation. He argued, among other things, that he was not an aggravated felon, since the Florida statute did not require the use of force to make it a “crime of violence”. You may recall that crime of violence, for immigration purposes, are analyzed under 18 U.S.C. 16, which defines the terms for immigration purposes. Section 16(a) requires the use of force, and 16(b) classifies any felony that has a likelihood of the use of force as a “crime of violence”.

The court reasoned that the statute does not fall under 16(a), but ruled that it does fall under 16(b) since the mere chance that the felon would flee from law enforcement, could lead to injury to others or their property. The court added that the desperation of the person fleeing raises the prospects of using force.  Thus, the court ruled that a conviction under the statute is an aggravated felony. To read the decision click here.

I respectfully disagree with the court, since the statute itself does not require the use of force. This will open the door to the expansion of the definition. Do you agree?