On April 9, 2014, as reported by the National Law Journal, Zac Hudson argued in Hinds v. Holder, before the First Circuit Court of Appeals, that deportation is a penalty that must be weighed in proportion to the crime committed. Specifically, the statutory provision tasking immigration judges with deciding whether an alien is removable from the United States must be read to prohibit the entry of removal orders that would otherwise raise serious due process problems. Hudson told the Court that removal orders that amounted to unduly harsh penalties and had tragic consequences would raise serious constitutional questions, and that in order to avoid those problems the statutory provision at issue should be construed so as to bar removal orders in certain exceptional cases. Hudson explained that the plight of Bancroft pro bono client Rogelio Blackman Hinds proved the point. Mr. Blackman is 59, has lawfully resided in the U.S. for nearly 40 years, is married to a U.S. citizen and has five U.S. citizen children (one is severely mentally and physically handicapped), served this country honorably as a U.S. Marine, and suffers from several health issues that are likely the result of his military service.
Hudson’s arguments received substantial amicus support, including from the Center for Constitutional Rights, the American Immigration Council, the Post-Deportation Human Rights Project at Boston College, the American Civil Liberties Union, and several law professors.