Criminal Defense of Immigrants


§ 20.44 B. Eligibility for Relief

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The category of “crime of moral turpitude” does not generally bar discretionary forms of relief.  In fact, many forms of relief were specifically created for the purpose of waiving removability on the basis of one or more crimes of moral turpitude.[286]  However, there are exceptions.


                For example, cancellation of removal for non-lawful permanent residents is not available to a person who is removable for a CMT.[287]  Commission of a CMT can also trigger the LPR-cancellation stop-time rule.[288]  Relief under INA § 212(c)[289] is barred to a noncitizen who was convicted, or entered a plea of guilty to a CMT offense between April 24, 1996 and April 1, 1997 if s/he is deportable for multiple crimes of moral turpitude, at least two of which were punishable by at least one year imprisonment.[290]


                A crime of moral turpitude conviction may also disqualify a noncitizen from eligibility under the one felony or two or three misdemeanor disqualification rules for Family Unity,[291] Legalization Programs,[292] or Temporary Protected Status.[293]

A crime of moral turpitude should not bar asylum or withholding of removal unless it is determined to be a particularly serious crime.[294]  A CMT conviction will not bar relief under the Convention Against Torture.[295]


                See Chapter 24, infra, for a discussion of other forms of relief.

[286] See, e.g., INA § 212(h), 8 U.S.C. § 1182(h), INA § 212(a)(2)(A)(ii), 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(2)(A)(ii).

[287] See § 24.5, infra.

[288] See § 24.6, infra.

[289] INA § 212(c), 8 U.S.C. § 1182(c) (1995).

[290] See § 24.28, infra.

[291] See § 24.8, infra

[292] See § § 24.9, et seq., infra.

[293] See § 24.25, infra.

[294] See § 24.19, infra.

[295] See § 24.7, infra.