According to a Human Rights Watch report, more than 34,000 immigrants have been ostracized from 2007 to 2012 for Marijuana possession. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recently clarified that Marijuana-related affair- including working at a state-licensed dispensary or farming operation– could be used as a basis for repulsing immigrants citizenship due to a lack of “good moral character”.
The Trump administration unlike the Obama-era is anti-immigration and has no segregation in deportation guidelines for the types of offense and no concern for the efficient use of federal enforcement resources. The implementation of policies that penalize immigrants involved in cannabis-related activities stands in incongruity to the predominant states which have decriminalized or legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use or both, by the bicameral rectification struggles of Marijuana and immigrant advocacy groups.
The “Removing Marijuana from Deportable Offenses Act” was introduced in the lower house of the US Congress on 18th September by the Democrat Congressman Ben Ray Luján, Representative for New Mexico. This migrant safeguarding legislation was in support of the original sponsor’s bill by US Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), who introduced it in the Senate in June.
The crucial provisions of this federal bill encompass:
- Removal of the use, possession, or sale of marijuana from the Immigration and Nationality Act as a liability for invalidation or deportation of immigrants.
- Authorizing individuals who were previously refused visas due to marijuana indictment can reapply for access to the U.S. or reissuing the visa they had at the time of their expulsion.
The “Removing Marijuana from Deportable Offenses Act” is co-sponsored by 21 Democratic Representatives from Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, Wisconsin, and Washington D.C.
The bill is also endorsed by a host of criminal justice, drug and immigration policy reform organizations including: Drug Policy Alliance, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), National Immigrant Justice Center, FWD.us, Immigrant Resource Center, Immigrant Defense Project, Washington Office on Latin America, Somos Un Pueblo.
Ben Ray who serves as Assistant Speaker of the House of Representatives, has also co-sponsored the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, which would necessitate resentencing and sealing of the prior judged felonies for inconsequential cannabis convictions and decriminalize Cannabis at the federal level and the SAFE Banking Act of 2019, which facilitates those in the licensed Cannabis market to have access to banking services.
This “Removing Marijuana from Deportable Offenses Act” will terminate all toils by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to use minor drug felonies- including possessions of as little as one ounce or 30 grams of Marijuana- to target individuals for deportation and expedited transfer.