US Supreme Court Limits Definition of “Controlled Substances” for Immigration Purposes

This week the US Supreme Court in Mellouli v. Lynch decided that an immigrant can only be found removable for convictions related to “controlled substances” where the substance is actually listed on the federal controlled substances list. In this case, Mellouli was convicted of a controlled substances violation in Kansas. In Kansas, the controlled substances list includes items not on the federal controlled substances listed. Mellouli was convicted of Kansas’s state crime of possession of unnamed pills and paraphernalia (a sock!). Because the pills and the socks were not on the federal controlled substances list, his conviction in Kansas–even for “drug” crimes–could not trigger removability under INA §237(a)(2)(B)(i).