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Lopez vs. Gonzales and Toledo-Flores v. U.S.

Hearing date: October 3

At issue: State/federal conflict over seriousness of drug crimes involving immigrants.

The cases and arguments: Men in separate appeals were found guilty of drug possession. Under federal law, these crimes are considered misdemeanors. But the federal Board of Immigration Appeals concluded both Josť Lopez and Reymundo Toldeo-Flores committed "aggravated felonies" and can be sent back to Mexico. Their immigration status could turn on the high court's decision. Lawyers for both men say crimes that are not felonies under federal law and should not be grounds for removal from the U.S. Five federal appeals courts have offered conflicting rulings on the topic.

The impact: About 7,000 immigrants were deported from the U-S for drug related crimes last year, according to Justice Department figures. The debate over immigration and border security has become a hotly debated political topic this election year.


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