Criminal Defense of Immigrants


§ 20.25 (A)

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(A)  In General.  A person who has been convicted of one crime involving moral turpitude is inadmissible.[163]  This immigration consequence can arise in several ways:


(1)        When a noncitizen seeks admission, the DHS may try to exclude him or her for being inadmissible for conviction or admission of a crime involving moral turpitude.


(2)        If the immigrant is admitted despite having already suffered a conviction or admission of a crime involving moral turpitude, the DHS may later seek to deport him or her for being inadmissible at the time of admission.[164]


(3)        A conviction or admission of a crime involving moral turpitude that renders a noncitizen excludable will destroy eligibility for other immigration benefits that require an immigrant to be admissible.  For example, an applicant seeking voluntary departure cannot establish that s/he is a person of good moral character if s/he is excludable for a conviction or admission of a crime involving moral turpitude.[165]


An admission, properly taken, of a crime of moral turpitude will trigger exactly the same immigration consequences as a conviction.  See § 18.3, supra.  For simplicity, a reference to “conviction” in this chapter will mean “conviction or admission.”

[163] INA § 212(a)(2)(A)(i), 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(2)(A)(i).  A noncitizen who comes within one of the grounds of inadmissibility will be blocked from obtaining a green card or some other forms of immigration benefit.  For example, if the person is undocumented but could get a green card through a family member, being inadmissible may prevent this.  An inadmissible permanent resident who wants to travel outside the U.S. may be stopped at the border upon return and not admitted into the United States.

[164] INA § 237(a)(2)(A), 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(A); Zavaleta-Gallegos v. INS, 261 F.3d 951 (9th Cir. 2001) (noncitizen may be removed for a CMT conviction as inadmissible under INA § 212(a)(2)(A)(i)(I), 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(2)(A)(i)(I), even if the conviction occurred prior to admission, if the conviction made the noncitizen inadmissible at entry).

[165] See INA § 101(f)(3), 8 U.S.C. § 1101(f)(3).