Criminal Defense of Immigrants


§ 5.28 (H)

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(H)  Verify Conviction Does Not Trigger Deportation.  For each potential offense of conviction, it is essential to verify that the conviction will not trigger any ground of deportation.  This can be accomplished by the following procedure.


                1.  Check in Safe Havens, Chapter 8 under the type of crime, such as Crimes Against the Person.  Look for judicial decisions holding an offense identical or closely related to the offense under consideration is not an aggravated felony and is also not a crime involving moral turpitude.


                2.  Check Safe Havens, Chapter 7 to see whether the safe haven falls within the safe haven principles for each of the possible conviction-based grounds of deportation.


                3.  Review the Aggravated Felony Alphabetical Quick Checklist, Appendix B, infra to ensure the offense of conviction is not an aggravated felony.  If necessary, check further to make sure of this.  See Chapter 19, infra.


                4.  Review the complete Grounds of Deportation Checklist given in Appendix D, infra, to determine whether conduct-based grounds are triggered. At that point, counsel has done all s/he can: it is not possible by manipulating a conviction to protect a client against the possibility that the client’s conduct triggers a conduct-based ground of deportation.  Counsel cannot rewrite history.


                5.  Check the updates of the relevant books at, which is updated monthly, for any relevant new decisions.


                6.  Doublecheck the case law of the Board of Immigration Appeals and the circuit within which the case arises to verify no new decisions have been handed down which alter the analysis.


                The most complete collection of information concerning aggravated felonies is contained in N. Tooby & J. Rollin, Aggravated Felonies (2005), for use both by immigration and criminal counsel.  The chief value of Aggravated Felonies is that every decision was examined, and every decision containing a significant discussion concerning whether a conviction fell into the definition of aggravated felony has been included in that volume.  All definition cases are categorized according to the aggravated felony category in Appendix A to Aggravated Felonies, and by the name of the crime of conviction in Appendix B to Aggravated Felonies.  Moreover, the Detailed Table of Contents, the Table of Authorities, and the Subject Matter Index of Aggravated Felonies provide additional ways by which counsel can quickly and easily find the pertinent decisions.