8 Seattle J. Soc. Just. 857 (2009-2010)
Defining Sexual Abuse of a Minor in Immigration Law: Finding a Place for Uniformity, Fairness, and Feminism

handle is hein.journals/sjsj8 and id is 875 raw text is: Defining Sexual Abuse of a Minor in
Immigration Law: Finding a Place for Uniformity,
Fairness, and Feminism
Kate Barth
INTRODUCTION
In June 2001, twenty-year-old Juan Elias Estrada-Espinoza, a lawful
permanent resident of the United States, met Sonia Arredondo, who was
either fifteen or sixteen at the time.' The two started a relationship, lived
together for some time with Estrada-Espinoza's parents before moving to
their own residence, and eventually raised a child together.2 The
relationship was sanctioned by both sets of parents.' However, in 2004 the
California District Attorney filed statutory rape charges against Estrada-
Espinoza and he was convicted on four counts under the California Penal
Code.4 Soon after his conviction for statutory rape, the Department of
Homeland Security commenced deportation proceedings, and Estrada-
Espinoza was found removable as an aggravated felon under 8 U.S.C. 
1227(a)(2)(A)(iii), also known as  237(a)(2)(A)(iii) of the Immigration and
Nationality Act (1NA).5
The term aggravated felony is defined in 8 U.S.C.  1101(a)(43)(A)
(INA  101(a)(43)(A)) as murder, rape, or sexual abuse of a minor.
However, as sexual abuse of a minor is not explicitly defined in the INA,
both the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), which heard Estrada-
Espinoza's appeal, and the initial panel of the Ninth Circuit, which denied
Estrada-Espinoza's petition for review, looked to the BIA's decision in In
re Rodriguez-Rodriguez6 for a definition.7 Rodriguez-Rodriguez tied the
term sexual abuse of a minor to the definition given in 18 U.S.C. 
3509(a)(8), which is a provision that construes sexual abuse in the context
of the rights of child witnesses.8 Under this expansive definition, the BIA

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