(CN) - An immigrant's illegal entry conviction and his subsequent return to Mexico interrupted his period of "continuous physical presence" in the United States, making him ineligible to stay in the country, the 2nd Circuit ruled, addressing issues of first impression.
Jesus Ascencio-Rodriguez first came to the United States in 1989. Since then, he's traveled to and from Mexico several times, getting arrested at least four times by Border Patrol agents.
One such arrest resulted in a conviction for illegal entry and his voluntary removal.
But Ascencio-Rodriguez returned to the United States in 2004, again illegally, and was ordered deported four years later by the Department of Homeland Security.
He filed papers fighting the deportation, claiming he'd been in the country for more than 10 years.
The immigration judge and the Board of Appeals were not convinced. They said Ascencio-Rodriguez's conviction and subsequent departure to Mexico interrupted his continuous presence in the United States.
The 2nd Circuit agreed.
"To allow an alien to plead guilty to illegal entry, be convicted of the crime, leave the country, and yet continue to accrue 'continuous physical presence' time within the meaning of our immigration laws would be contrary to the objectives of those laws and the BIA's relevant decisions," Judge Jose Cabranes wrote.
The court found Ascencio-Rodriguez ineligible for cancellation of removal and denied his petition for review.