ON FEBRUARY 27th, in the midst of a fresh crack-down on undocumented migrants and a pending revision of the president’s travel ban, the Supreme Court heard an immigration case with potentially wide-ranging implications. Esquivel-Quintana v Jefferson Sessions is the first Supreme Court case naming Donald Trump’s new attorney general as a party—though it concerns a matter that took place well before he joined the cabinet. Depending on how the justices rule, immigration authorities may soon either enjoy a freer hand to deport non-citizens or find themselves judicially constrained in these efforts.
Juan Esquivel-Quintana arrived in America from Mexico with his parents at the age of 12 and became a lawful permanent resident. In 2009, Mr Esquivel-Quintana served 90 days in jail and five years on probation for statutory rape. He was found to have violated California’s penal code by having sex, at the age of 20, with his 16-year-old girlfriend. (The law criminalises sexual relations between an adult and “a minor who is more than three years younger than the perpetrator”.) Later, after moving from California to Michigan, Mr Esquivel-Quintana became subject to…Continue reading