The Board of Immigration Appeals has determined that a kidnapping conviction under 18 USC 1201(a)(1), (a)(2) is not an aggravated felony. INA 101(a)(43)(H) defines an aggravated felony to include “an offense described in section 875, 876, 877, or 1202 of title 18.” The Department of Homeland Security argued that an offense defined in 18 USC 1201 is still one described in those sections. “However, we cannot agree that Congress’ use of the phrase ‘described in’ allows us to interpret section 101(a)(43)(H) as including an offense under a Federal statute that is not enumerated there.”

“Congress used the phrase ‘relating to the demand for or receipt of ransom’ as the descriptor of the offenses defined in the four Federal statutes enumerated in section 101(a)(43)(H), not the phrase ‘relating to kidnapping.’ A conviction for kidnapping under § 1201 does not require a demand for or receipt of ransom to support a conviction, because the statute requires proof that a person has been ‘held for ransom, reward, or otherwise’.”

The full text of Matter of A. Vasquez can be found here: