Criminal Defense of Immigrants


§ 22.31 c. Child Neglect

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“Child neglect” is also a broad term.[151]  “Neglected child” has been defined as follows:


A child is “neglected” when his parent or custodian, by reason of cruelty, mental incapacity, immorality or depravity, is unfit properly to care for him, or neglects or refuses to provide necessary physical, affectional, medical, surgical, or institutional or hospital care for him, or he is in such condition of want or suffering or is under such improper care or control as to endanger his morals or health.”[152]


Advocates can argue the immigration court should apply the Immigration Act definition of “child abuse or child neglect”[153] when deciding whether the elements of a crime fall within the domestic violence deportation ground.  This definition of child neglect requires “an imminent risk of serious harm” which is a much higher standard than some state statutes. While INA § 214(d)(3) incorporates this definition “for purposes of this subsection,” there is no reason not to apply it to the domestic violence deportation ground.

[151] See Annot., Who Has Custody or Control of Child Within the Terms of Penal Statutes Punishing Cruelty or Neglect by One Having Custody or Control, 75 ALR 3d 933.

[152] black’s law dictionary, p. 1037 (1990), citing In re Du Mond, 196 Misd. 16, 17, 92 N.Y.S.2d 805.

[153] INA § 214(d)(3), added by the VAWA Reauthorization Act (effective January, 2006).




Matter of Velazquez-Herrera, 24 I. & N. Dec. 503, ___ n.14 (BIA May 20, 2008) (child abuse definition "is comprehensive enough to subsume most, if not all, crimes of 'child neglect'").