San Diego International Law Journal


Megan Smith

Library of Congress Authority File


Document Type



This Comment begins by examining and comparing the legal framework for deportation and other immigration consequences for convictions of drug offenses in the United States, the European Union, and the United Kingdom. This Comment then looks at the harsh effects of current immigration policy on individuals and marginalized communities. Finally, this Comment argues that immigration law should be reformed to adopt a more humanitarian approach toward non-citizens convicted of drug offenses. Deportation and other harsh immigration consequences for drug offenses levy disproportionately severe punishments toward vulnerable minority immigrant communities, exposing them to consequences much harsher than non-immigrants would face for the same charges. In the United States, drug offenses are often a complete bar to relief from deportation, regardless of a non-citizen’s ties to the country. This Comment argues that the framework developed in the EU can provide some insight into a more compassionate approach toward crime-based deportations, such as the need for individualized humanitarian considerations in making deportation decisions. Ultimately, however, immigration reform should go beyond that framework to provide protections for immigrants to minimize the potentially disastrous effects on immigrants and their families due to deportation.