Criminal Defense of Immigrants


§ 21.38 VI. Sentencing Considerations

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The length of sentence imposed by the criminal court will not affect whether a given conviction triggers any of the drug-related grounds of removal. 


Whether a conviction triggers inadmissibility or deportability as a crime of moral turpitude may depend upon the maximum possible sentence and the sentence actually imposed.[353]  However, it is unlikely counsel will ever encounter a drug-related CMT that does not trigger removal under some other ground, which makes this point moot.


                If a noncitizen is facing deportation for a drug-related aggravated felony conviction that occurred between November 29, 1990 and April 24, 1996, s/he may be eligible for relief under former INA § 212(c), but only if the actual aggregate sentence term served by the noncitizen is less than five years.[354]  A noncitizen sentenced to more than five years for any aggravated felony offense is also ineligible for withholding of removal.[355]

[353] See § § 20.29, 20.32, supra.

[354] See § 24.28, infra.

[355] See § 24.31, infra.