Advisory About the Immigration Consequences of California Methamphetamine Convictions: Lorenzo v. Sessions

Post-Conviction Relief
Removal Defense
Publication Date

In August 2018, the Ninth Circuit published an opinion holding that methamphetamine as defined under California law is not a controlled substance for federal immigration purposes.  In January 2019, however, the court withdrew the published opinion, and issued a non-published opinion that came to the same conclusion.  See Lorenzo v. Sessions, 902 F.3d 930 (9th Cir. 2018), withdrawn by Lorenzo v. Whitaker913 F.3d 930 (9th Cir. 2019), and unpublished decision at Lorenzo v. Whitaker, 752 F. App'x 482 (9th Cir. Jan. 17, 2019)The case has been remanded to the Board of Immigration Appeals.  At this time, California defenders must assume that California methamphetamine is a controlled substance for immigration purposes. Immigration advocates in removal proceedings have no precedent to rely upon, but they can make the Lorenzo argument and cite to the unpublished case, while also aggressively pursuing other defense strategies.