Criminal Defense of Immigrants


§ 20.43 A. General Immigration Consequences

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While the consequence of deportation[275] or inadmissibility[276] resulting from a conviction for a crime of moral turpitude is serious, this class of conviction is not nearly as dangerous as an aggravated felony conviction.  Offenses that are only crimes of moral turpitude (and do not trigger other grounds of removal) generally do not disqualify a noncitizen from eligibility for discretionary immigration relief from removal, although there are some exceptions.[277]


                A noncitizen deportable for a single CMT, for which s/he was sentenced to less than one year imprisonment, is not subject to mandatory detention.[278]  Unfortunately any crime of moral turpitude that does not qualify for the Petty Offense[279] or Youthful Offender Exceptions[280] will trigger mandatory detention for a noncitizen who is inadmissible to the United States.[281]  Noncitizens convicted of crimes of moral turpitude, and released from criminal custody before October 9, 1998, also should not be subject to mandatory detention under INA § 236(c)(1)(B).[282]


                Circuit Court appeal of an adverse immigration decision by the BIA is not barred to a noncitizen deportable for a single CMT committed within five years, or for multiple crimes of moral turpitude, unless at least two of the crimes are punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of one year or more.[283]  See § 15.37(B)(1), supra


                Where Good Moral Character is required, a CMT conviction will preclude relief unless a waiver is obtained, the offense comes within the Petty Offense, Youthful Offender, or Political Offense Exceptions, or the date of the offense falls outside of the required GMC period. [284]


                The category of “crime of moral turpitude” is not one that triggers any sentence enhancement upon illegal re-entry.[285]

[275] See § § 20.32-20.41, supra.

[276] See § § 20.25-20.31, supra.

[277] See § 20.44, infra.

[278] INA § 236(c)(1)(B), 8 U.S.C. § 1226(c)(1)(B).

[279] See § 20.29, supra.

[280] See § 20.30, supra.

[281] INA § 236(c)(1)(A), 8 U.S.C. § 1226(c)(1)(A).

[282] See § 15.21, supra.

[283] See § 241(a)(2)(C), 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(C).

[284] See § 15.6, supra.

[285] See INA § 276(b), 8 U.S.C. § 1326(b).  See also § 15.39, supra.