WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) today introduced the Remove Marijuana from Deportable Offenses Act, which would no longer make marijuana use, possession, and distribution grounds for inadmissibility or deportation under the Immigration and Nationality Act. The bill would end efforts by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to use minor drug offences—including possession of as little as 30 grams of marijuana—to target immigrants for deportation.
According to a Human Rights Watch report, more than 34,000 immigrants have been deported between 2007 and 2012 for marijuana possession. The Trump Administration has exacerbated the issue by rescinding Obama-era guidelines that prioritized the deportation of violent offenders and instead calling for the removal of individuals charged or convicted “of any criminal offense,” with no distinction for the type of offense and without regard to the efficient use of law enforcement resources.
“This Administration’s efforts to use marijuana possession as a tool for deportation is disgraceful and misguided. Limited law enforcement resources should not be wasted on deporting people for something two of the last three presidents have admitted to doing,” Senator Booker said. “This legislation will remove another one of ICE’s weapons that have been deployed to execute this Administration’s hardline immigration policy.”