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US Supreme Court Allows Deportation of British Man

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On Wednesday 10 May, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled to allow the Bush administration to deport a British man for breaking the law in Mississippi. The court's four most liberal members supported the defendants request to remain in the US while the five conservative and conservative-leaning members voted in favour of deportation.

Two of the five voting for deportation were recently installed by the Bush administration.

Kiren Kumar Bharti has lived in the US for nearly 25 years at this time, with a number relatives and a young daughter. A British citizen, he was awarded permanent resident status in 1998. However, he was convicted in Mississippi that same year on minor drug possession charges for marijuana.

Later there were convictions for resisting arrest and domestic violence. The US government began deportation proceedings against him at that time. The case extended until now due to the fact that he had already been granted permanent residence and that the charges were considered fairly minor and inter-related.

Two similar appeals will be considered by the justices later this year. The arguments will examine and the rulings will determine whether immigrants can avoid deportation over some state drug convictions, depending upon the severity.

To win a Supreme Court stay requires five votes. President Bush's two nominees, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, backed the Bush administrations position, as did Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas.

Mr. Bharti still has an appeal pending in a lower court, which may still be pursued after the deportation. "Bharti does not claim that he faces any risk of persecution or harm if he is removed to the United Kingdom," Solicitor General Paul Clement wrote in a filing.