Crimes of Moral Turpitude


§ 3.16 (B)

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(B)       Multiple Convictions With Aggregate Sentences Totaling Five Years or More.


Any alien convicted of 2 or more offenses (other than purely political offenses), regardless of whether the conviction was in a single trial or whether the offenses arose from a single scheme of misconduct and regardless of whether the offenses involved moral turpitude, for which the aggregate sentences to confinement were 5 years or more is inadmissible.[214]


Waiver.  A waiver is available[215] to excuse this ground of inadmissibility.


            Counsel whose client has a CMT conviction for whom inadmissibility is important must determine the essential elements of the offense of conviction, from the record of conviction, and compare them to the various non-CMT conviction and conduct-based grounds of inadmissibility to determine whether the conviction triggers any of the other grounds of inadmissibility. 


            This examination must take into account not only the elements of the offense of conviction, but also the contents of the particular record of conviction, and care must be taken in generalizing from a judicial decision involving a particular criminal statute or a particular ground of inadmissibility since the elements of offenses change over time, both by legislative and judicial action, and the contents of the record of conviction vary widely from one case to another. 


            Convictions of firearms offenses, domestic violence offenses, and aggravated felonies are not grounds for finding a noncitizen inadmissible if they do not otherwise fall within some other ground of inadmissibility.  Therefore, even if a noncitizen has been convicted of a firearms offense or aggravated felony, he or she may still be able lawfully to enter the country or adjust status.[216] A noncitizen convicted of an aggravated felony that is also a CMT may still be able to adjust status with an INA § 212(h) waiver.[217]


[214] INA § 212(a)(2)(B), 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(2)(B).

[215] INA § 212(h), 8 U.S.C. § 1182(h).

[216] Matter of Rainford, 20 I. & N. Dec. 598 (BIA 1992) (noncitizen can adjust although deportable under the firearms ground); Matter of Gabryelsky, 20 I. & N. Dec. 750 (BIA 1993) (noncitizen can adjust, although deportable, in conjunction with former INA § 212(c) waiver).

[217] See § 3.44, infra.