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Precedent Chart


CANCELLATION OF REMOVAL (SPECIAL RULE)

Availability of Waiver

Matter of Y-N-P-, 26 I&N Dec. 10 (BIA 2012)

An applicant for special rule cancellation of removal under section 240A(b)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(b)(2) (2006), cannot utilize a waiver of inadmissibility under section 212(h) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1182(h) (2006), to overcome the section 240A(b)(2)(A)(iv) bar resulting from inadmissibility under section 212(a)(2).

Continuous Physical Presence

Matter of Garcia, 24 I&N Dec. 179 (BIA 2007)

An application for special rule cancellation of removal is a continuing one, so an applicant can continue to accrue physical presence until the issuance of a final administrative decision. Matter of Ortega-Cabrera, 23 I&N Dec. 793 (BIA 2005), reaffirmed; Cuadra v. Gonzales, 417 F.3d 947 (8th Cir. 2005), followed in jurisdiction only.

Battered Spouse

Matter of A-M-, 25 I&N Dec. 66 (BIA 2009)

(1) Notwithstanding the heading of section 240A(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(b) (2006), which only refers to nonpermanent residents, a lawful permanent resident who qualifies as a battered spouse may be eligible to apply for cancellation of removal under section 240A(b)(2) of the Act.

(2) Given the nature and purpose of the relief of cancellation of removal for battered spouses under section 240A(b)(2) of the Act, such factors as an alien’s divorce from an abusive spouse, remarriage, and previous self-petition for relief based on the abusive marriage are relevant in determining whether an application for that relief should be granted in the exercise of discretion.

Matter of M-L-M-A-, 26 I&N Dec. 360 (BIA 2014)

(1) Because an application for special rule cancellation of removal under section 240A(b)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(b)(2) (2006), is a continuing one, false testimony given by the respondent more than 3 years prior to the entry of a final administrative order should not be considered in determining whether she is barred from establishing good moral character under section 101(f)(6) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1101(f)(6) (2006). Matter of Garcia, 24 I&N Dec. 179 (BIA 2007), and Matter of Ortega-Cabrera, 23 I&N Dec. 793 (BIA 2005), followed.

(2) Although the respondent was divorced from her abusive husband and subsequently had a long-term relationship with another man, she had not previously been granted special rule cancellation of removal based on her abusive marriage and had significant equities that merited a favorable exercise of discretion. Matter of A-M-, 25 I&N Dec. 66 (BIA 2009), distinguished.

Good Moral Character

Matter of M-L-M-A-, 26 I&N Dec. 360 (BIA 2014)

(1) Because an application for special rule cancellation of removal under section 240A(b)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(b)(2) (2006), is a continuing one, false testimony given by the respondent more than 3 years prior to the entry of a final administrative order should not be considered in determining whether she is barred from establishing good moral character under section 101(f)(6) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1101(f)(6) (2006). Matter of Garcia, 24 I&N Dec. 179 (BIA 2007), and Matter of Ortega-Cabrera, 23 I&N Dec. 793 (BIA 2005), followed.

(2) Although the respondent was divorced from her abusive husband and subsequently had a long-term relationship with another man, she had not previously been granted special rule cancellation of removal based on her abusive marriage and had significant equities that merited a favorable exercise of discretion. Matter of A-M-, 25 I&N Dec. 66 (BIA 2009), distinguished.

CHILD STATUS PROTECTION ACT

Matter of Avila-Perez, 24 I&N Dec. 78 (BIA 2007)

(1) Section 201(f)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1151(f)(1) (Supp. II 2002), which allows the beneficiary of an immediate relative visa petition to retain his status as a “child” after he turns 21, applies to an individual whose visa petition was approved before the August 6, 2002, effective date of the Child Status Protection Act, Pub. L. No. 107-208, 116 Stat. 927 (2002), but who filed an application for adjustment of status after that date.

(2) The respondent, whose visa petition was approved before August 6, 2002, and who filed his adjustment of status application after that date, retained his status as a child, and therefore an immediate relative, because he was under the age of 21 when the visa petition was filed on his behalf.

Matter of Zamora-Molina, 25 I&N Dec. 606 (BIA 2011)

(1) Section 201(f)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1151(f)(2) (2006), governs whether an alien who is the beneficiary of a visa petition according him or her second-preference status as the child of a lawful permanent resident under section 203(a)(2)(A) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1153(a)(2)(A) (2006), is an immediate relative upon the naturalization of the petitioning parent.

(2) Pursuant to section 201(f)(2) of the Act, an alien's actual, not adjusted, age on the date of his or her parent's naturalization determines whether he or she is an immediate relative.

(3) Section 204(k)(2) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1154(k)(2) (2006), does not allow an alien to retain his or her 2A-preference status by opting out of automatic conversion to the first-preference category as a son or daughter of a United States citizen upon his or her parent's naturalization.

CITIZENSHIP

Acquisition of Citizenship by a Child

Matter of Fuentes-Martinez, 21 I&N Dec. 893 (BIA 1997)

(1) A child who has satisfied the statutory conditions of section 321(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. §1432(a) (1994), before the age of 18 years has acquired derivative United States citizenship regardless of the child’s age at the time the amendments to that section by the Act of October 5, 1978, Pub. L. No. 95-417, 92 Stat. 917 (“1978 Amendments”), took effect.

(2) The respondent, who was 16 years and 4 months of age when his mother was naturalized, and who resided in the United States at that time as a lawful permanent resident while under the age of 18 years, became a derivative United States citizen, even though he was already 18 years old when the 1978 Amendments took effect.

Matter of Rodriguez-Tejedor, 23 I&N Dec. 153 (BIA 2001)

(1) The automatic citizenship provisions of section 320 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1431 (1994), as amended by the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, Pub. L. No. 106-395, 114 Stat. 1631 (“CCA”), are not retroactive and, consequently, do not apply to an individual who resided in the United States with his United States citizen parents as a lawful permanent resident while under the age of 18 years, but who was over the age of 18 years on the CCA effective date.

(2) The respondent, who resided in the United States with his United States citizen adoptive parents as a lawful permanent resident while under the age of 18 years, but who was over the age of 18 years on the CCA effective date, is ineligible for automatic citizenship under section 320 of the Act.

Matter of Navas-Acosta, 23 I&N Dec. 586 (BIA 2003)

(1) United States nationality cannot be acquired by taking an oath of allegiance pursuant to an application for naturalization, because birth and naturalization are the only means of acquiring United States nationality under the Immigration and Nationality Act.

(2) The respondent, who was born abroad and did not acquire United States nationality at birth, by naturalization, or by congressional action, failed to establish such nationality by declaring his allegiance to the United States in connection with an application for naturalization.

Matter of Rowe, 23 I&N Dec. 962 (BIA 2006)

(1) Under the laws of Guyana, the sole means of legitimation of a child born out of wedlock is the marriage of the child’s natural parents. Matter of Goorahoo, 20 I&N Dec. 782 (BIA 1994), overruled.

(2) Where the respondent was born out of wedlock in Guyana and his natural parents were never married, his paternity has not been established by legitimation, so he is not ineligible to obtain derivative citizenship under former section 321(a)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1432(a)(3) (1994).

Matter of Hines, 24 I&N Dec. 544 (BIA 2008)

(1) Under Jamaican law, the sole means of “legitimation” of a child born out of wedlock is the marriage of the child’s natural parents. Matter of Clahar, 18 I&N Dec. 1 (BIA 1981), overruled.

(2) The respondent was born in Jamaica of natural parents who never married, and therefore his paternity was not established “by legitimation” so as to disqualify him from deriving United States citizenship pursuant to former section 321(a)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1432(a)(3) (1988), through his mother’s naturalization in 1991.

Matter of Nwozuzu, 24 I&N Dec. 609 (BIA 2008)

To obtain derivative citizenship under former section 321(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1432(a) (1994), an alien must acquire the status of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence while he or she is under the age of 18 years.

Matter of Guzman-Gomez, 24 I&N Dec. 824 (BIA 2009)

(1)The terms child and parent defined at section 101(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1101(c) (2006), do not encompass stepchildren and stepparents.

(2) A person born outside the United States cannot derive United States citizenship under section 320(a) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1431(a) (2006), by virtue of his or her relationship to a nonadoptive stepparent.

Matter of Douglas, 26 I&N Dec. 197 (BIA 2013)

A child who has satisfied the statutory conditions of former section 321(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 432(a) (2000), before the age of 18 years has acquired United States citizenship, regardless of whether the naturalized parent acquired legal custody of the child before or after the naturalization. Matter of Baires, 24 I&N Dec. 467 (BIA 2008), followed. Jordon v. Attorney General of U.S., 424 F.3d 320 (3d Cir. 2005), not followed.

Ineligible to Citizenship

Matter of Kanga, 22 I&N Dec. 1206 (BIA 2000)

(1) The phrase “ineligible to citizenship” in section 212(a)(8)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(8)(A) (Supp. II 1996), refers only to those aliens who are barred from naturalization by virtue of their evasion of military service.

(2) An alien convicted of an aggravated felony is not thereby rendered inadmissible under section 212(a)(8)(A) of the Act as an alien who is permanently “ineligible to citizenship.”

CONTINUANCES

Matter of Hashmi, 24 I&N Dec. 785 (BIA 2009)

(1) An alien’s unopposed motion to continue ongoing removal proceedings to await the adjudication of a pending family-based visa petition should generally be granted if approval of the visa petition would render him prima facie eligible for adjustment of status. Matter of Garcia, 16 I&N Dec. 653 (BIA 1978), followed.

(2)In determining whether good cause exists to continue such proceedings, a variety of factors may be considered, including, but not limited to: (1) the Department of Homeland Security’s response to the motion to continue; (2) whether the underlying visa petition is prima facie approvable; (3) the respondent’s statutory eligibility for adjustment of status; (4) whether the respondent’s application for adjustment merits a favorable exercise of discretion; and (5) the reason for the continuance and any other relevant procedural factors.

Matter of Rajah, 25 I&N Dec. 127 (BIA 2009)

(1) In determining whether good cause exists to continue removal proceedings to await the adjudication of a pending employment-based visa petition or labor certification, an Immigration Judge should determine the alien’s place in the adjustment of status process and consider the applicable factors identified in Matter of Hashmi, 24 I&N Dec. 785 (BIA 2009), and any other relevant considerations.

(2) An alien’s unopposed motion to continue ongoing removal proceedings to await the adjudication of a pending employment-based visa petition should generally be granted if approval of the visa petition would render him prima facie eligible for adjustment of status.

(3) The pendency of a labor certification is generally not sufficient to warrant a grant of a continuance.

Matter of C-B-, 25 I&N Dec. 888 (BIA 2012)

(1) In order to meaningfully effectuate the statutory and regulatory privilege of legal representation where it has not been expressly waived by a respondent, an Immigration Judge must grant a reasonable and realistic period of time to provide a fair opportunity for the respondent to seek, speak with, and retain counsel.

(2) If a respondent expresses a fear of persecution or harm in a country to which he or she might be removed, the regulations require the Immigration Judge to advise the respondent of the right to apply for asylum or withholding of removal (including protection under the Convention Against Torture) and make the appropriate application forms available.

(3) If a respondent indicates that he or she will not waive appeal and is therefore ineligible or a grant of voluntary departure prior to the completion of removal proceedings under section 240B(a)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1229c(a)(1) (2006), the Immigration Judge should consider the respondent’s eligibility for voluntary departure at the

CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE DEPORTABILITY

Matter of Moncada, 24 I&N Dec. 62 (BIA 2007)

The exception to deportability under section 237(a)(2)(B)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(B)(i) (2000), for an alien convicted of possessing 30 grams or less of marijuana for his own use does not apply to an alien convicted under a statute that has an element requiring that possession of the marijuana be in a prison or other correctional setting.

Matter of Martinez-Zapata, 24 I&N Dec. 424 (BIA 2007)

(1) Any fact (including a fact contained in a sentence enhancement) that serves to increase the maximum penalty for a crime and that is required to be found by a jury beyond a reasonable doubt, if not admitted by the defendant, is to be treated as an element of the underlying offense, so that a conviction involving the application of such an enhancement is a conviction for the enhanced offense. Matter of Rodriguez-Cortes, 20 I&N Dec. 587 (BIA 1992), superseded.

(2)The exception under section 212(h) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1182(h) (2000), for an alien convicted of a single offense of simple possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana does not apply to an alien whose conviction was enhanced by virtue of his possession of marijuana in a “drug-free zone,” where the enhancement factor increased the maximum penalty for the underlying offense and had to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury under the law of the convicting jurisdiction. Matter of Moncada, 24 I&N Dec. 62 (BIA 2007), clarified.

Matter of Sanchez-Cornejo, 25 I&N Dec. 273 (BIA 2010)

The offense of delivery of a simulated controlled substance in violation of Texas law is not an aggravated felony, as defined by section 101(a)(43)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(43)(B) (2006), but it is a violation of a law relating to a controlled substance under former section 241(a)(2)(B)(i) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1251(a)(2)(B)(i) (1994).

Matter of Casillas, 25 I&N Dec. 317 (BIA 2010)

An alien is removable under section 237(a)(1)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(1)(A) (2006), as one who was inadmissible at the time of entry or adjustment of status pursuant to section 212(a)(2)(C) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(2)(C) (2006), where an appropriate immigration official knows or has reason to believe that the alien is a trafficker in controlled substances at the time of admission to the United States. Matter of Rocha, 20 I&N Dec. 944 (BIA 1995), modified.

Matter of Cuellar-Gomez, 25 I&N Dec. 850 (BIA 2012)

(1) A formal judgment of guilt of an alien entered by a municipal court is a “conviction” under section 101(a)(48)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(48)(A) (2006), if the proceedings in which the judgment was entered were genuine criminal proceedings. Matter of Rivera-Valencia, 24 I&N Dec. 484 (BIA 2008), and Matter of Eslamizar, 23 I&N Dec. 684 (BIA 2004), followed.

(2) A Wichita, Kansas, municipal ordinance which recapitulates a Kansas statute prohibiting marijuana possession is a “law or regulation of a State . . . relating to a controlled substance” under section 237(a)(2)(B)(i) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(B)(i) (2006).

(3) Possession of marijuana after a prior municipal ordinance conviction for marijuana possession in violation of former sections 65-4162(a) and (b) of the Kansas Statutes Annotated is an aggravated felony under section 101(a)(43)(B) of the Act by virtue of its correspondence to the Federal felony of “recidivist possession,” 21 U.S.C. § 844 (2006), provided the prior conviction was final when the second offense was committed. Lopez v. Gonzales, 549 U.S. 47 (2006), followed; Carachuri-Rosendo v. Holder, 130 S. Ct. 2577 (2010), and Matter of Carachuri-Rosendo, 24 I&N Dec. 382 (BIA 2007), distinguished.

Matter of Davey, 26 I&N Dec. 37 (BIA 2012)

(1) For purposes of section 237(a)(2)(B)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(B)(i) (2006), the phrase “a single offense involving possession for one’s own use of thirty grams or less of marijuana” calls for a circumstance-specific inquiry into the character of the alien’s unlawful conduct on a single occasion, not a categorical inquiry into the elements of a single statutory crime.

(2) An alien convicted of more than one statutory crime may be covered by the exception to deportability for an alien convicted of “a single offense involving possession for one’s own use of thirty grams or less ofmarijuana” if all the alien’s crimeswere closely related to or connected with a single incident in which the alien possessed 30 grams or less of marijuana for his or her own use, provided that none of those crimeswas inherently more serious than simple possession.

Matter of Dominguez-Rodriguez, 26 I&N Dec. 408 (BIA 2014)

For purposes of section 237(a)(2)(B)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(B)(i) (2012), the phrase "a single offense involving possession for one's own use of thirty grams or less of marijuana" calls for a circumstance-specific inquiry into the character of the alien's unlawful conduct on a single occasion, not a categorical inquiry into the elements of a single statutory crime. Moncrieffe v. Holder, 133 S. Ct. 1678 (2013), distinguished. Matter of Davey, 26 I&N Dec. 37 (BIA 2012), reaffirmed.

CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE

Acquiesence of Public Official

Matter of S-V-, 22 I&N Dec. 1306 (BIA 2000)

An applicant for protection under Article 3 of the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment must establish that the torture feared would be inflicted by or with the acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity; therefore, protection does not extend to persons who fear entities that a government is unable to control.

Matter of Y-L-, A-G- and R-S-R-, 23 I&N Dec. 270 (A.G. 2002)

(1) Aggravated felonies involving unlawful trafficking in controlled substances presumptively constitute “particularly serious crimes” within the meaning of section 241(b)(3)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1231(b)(3)(B) (2000), and only under the most extenuating circumstances that are both extraordinary and compelling would departure from this interpretation be warranted or permissible. Matter of S-S-, 22 I&N Dec. 458 (BIA 1999), overruled.

(2) The respondents are not eligible for deferral of removal under Article 3 of the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment where each failed to establish that the torture feared would be inflicted by or with the acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. Matter of S-V-, 22 I&N Dec. 1306 (BIA 2000), followed.

Burden of Proof

Matter of M-B-A-, 23 I&N Dec. 474 (BIA 2002)

A Nigerian convicted of a drug offense in the United States failed to establish eligibility for deferral of removal under Article 3 of the Convention Against Torture because the evidence she presented regarding the enforcement of Decree No. 33 of the Nigerian National Drug Law Enforcement Agency against individuals similarly situated to her was insufficient to demonstrate that it is more likely than not that she will be tortured by a public official, or at the instigation or with the consent or acquiescence of such an official, if she is deported to Nigeria.

Matter of J-F-F-, 23 I&N Dec. 912 (A.G. 2006)

An alien’s eligibility for deferral of removal under the Convention Against Torture cannot be established by stringing together a series of suppositions to show that it is more likely than not that torture will result where the evidence does not establish that each step in the hypothetical chain of events is more likely than not to happen.

Definition of Torture

Matter of J-E-, 23 I&N Dec. 291 (BIA 2002)

(1) An alien seeking protection under Article 3 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment must establish that it is more likely than not that he will be tortured in the country of removal.

(2) Torture within the meaning of the Convention Against Torture and 8 C.F.R. § 208.18(a) (2001) is an extreme form of cruel and inhuman treatment and does not extend to lesser forms of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.

(3) For an act to constitute “torture” it must satisfy each of the following five elements in the definition of torture set forth at 8 C.F.R. § 208.18(a): (1) the act must cause severe physical or mental pain or suffering; (2) the act must be intentionally inflicted; (3) the act must be inflicted for a proscribed purpose; (4) the act must be inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official who has custody or physical control of the victim; and (5) the act cannot arise from lawful sanctions.

(4) According to 8 C.F.R. § 208.16(c)(3) (2001), in adjudicating a claim for protection under Article 3 of the Convention Against Torture, all evidence relevant to the possibilityof future torture must be considered, including, but not limited to: (1) evidence of past torture inflicted upon the applicant; (2) evidence that the applicant could relocate to a part of the country of removal where he or she is not likely to be tortured; (3) evidence of gross, flagrant, or mass violations of human rights within the country of removal, where applicable; and (4) other relevant information regarding conditions in the country of removal.

(5) The indefinite detention of criminal deportees by Haitian authorities does not constitute torture within the meaning of 8 C.F.R. § 208.18(a) where there is no evidence that the authorities intentionally and deliberately detain deportees in order to inflict torture.

(6) Substandard prison conditions in Haiti do not constitute torture within the meaning of 8 C.F.R. § 208.18(a) where there is no evidence that the authorities intentionally create and maintain such conditions in order to inflict torture.

(7) Evidence of the occurrence in Haitian prisons of isolated instances of mistreatment that may rise to the level of torture as defined in the Convention Against Torture is insufficient to establish that it is more likely than not that the respondent will be tortured if returned to Haiti.

Matter of G-A-, 23 I&N Dec. 366 (BIA 2002)

An Iranian Christian of Armenian descent demonstrated eligibility for deferral of removal under Article 3 of the Convention Against Torture and 8C.F.R. §208.17(a) (2001) by establishing that it is more likely than not that he will be tortured if deported to Iran based on a combination of factors, including his religion, his ethnicity, the duration of his residence in the United States, and his drug-related convictions in this country.

Jurisdiction

Matter of H-M-V-, 22 I&N Dec. 256 (BIA 1998)

The Board of Immigration Appeals lacks jurisdiction to adjudicate a claim for relief from deportation pursuant to Article 3 of the United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, as there has been no specific legislation to implement the provisions of Article 3, no regulations have been promulgated with respect to Article 3, and the United States Senate has declared that Article 3 is a non-self-executing treaty provision.

Matter of V-K-, 24 I&N Dec. 500 (BIA 2008)

The Board of Immigration Appeals reviews de novo an Immigration Judge’s prediction or finding regarding the likelihood that an alien will be tortured, because it relates to whether the ultimate statutory requirement for establishing eligibility for relief from removal has been met and is therefore a mixed question of law and fact, or a question of judgment.

Termination of Deferral of Removal

Matter of C-C-I-, 26 I&N Dec. 375 (BIA 2014)

(1) Reopening of removal proceedings for a de novo hearing to consider termination of an alien's deferral of removal pursuant to 8 C.F.R. § 1208.17(d)(1) (2014), is warranted where the Government presents evidence that was not considered at the previous hearing if it is relevant to the possibility that the alien will be tortured in the country to which removal has been deferred.

(2) The doctrine of collateral estoppel does not prevent an Immigration Judge from reevaluating an alien's credibility in light of additional evidence presented at a hearing under 8 C.F.R. § 1208.17(d)(3).

CRIMES INVOLVING MORAL TURPITUDE

Accessory after the Fact

Matter of Rivens, 25 I&N Dec. 623 (BIA 2011)

(1) In order to establish that a returning lawful permanent resident alien is to be treated as an applicant for admission to the United States, the Department of Homeland Security has the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that one of the six exceptions to the general rule for lawful permanent residents set forth at section 101(a)(13)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(13)(C) (2006), applies.

(2) The offense of accessory after the fact is a crime involving moral turpitude, but only if the underlying offense is such a crime.

Animal Cruelty

Matter of Ortega-Lopez, 26 I&N Dec. 99 (BIA 2013)

The offense of sponsoring or exhibiting an animal in an animal fighting venture in violation of 7 U.S.C. § 2156(a)(1) (2006) is categorically a crime involving moral turpitude.

Assault

Matter of Fualaau, 21 I&N Dec. 475 (BIA 1996)

(1) Assault in the third degree under section 707-712 of the Hawaii Revised Statute is not a crime involving moral turpitude within the meaning of section 241(a)(2)(A)(ii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 241(a)(2)(A)(ii) (1994), where the offense is similar to a simple assault.

(2) Where reckless conduct is an element of the statute, a crime of assault can be, but is not per se, a crime involving moral turpitude.

Matter of Sejas, 24 I&N Dec. 236 (BIA 2007)

The offense of assault and battery against a family or household member in violation of section 18.2-57.2 of the Virginia Code is not categorically a crime involving moral turpitude.

Matter of Solon, 24 I&N Dec. 239 (BIA 2007)

The offense of assault in the third degree in violation of section 120.00(1) of the New York Penal Law, which requires both specific intent and physical injury, is a crime involving moral turpitude.

Attempt Offenses

Matter of Vo, 25 I&N Dec. 426 (BIA 2011)

Where the substantive offense underlying an alien’s conviction for an attempt offense is a crime involving moral turpitude, the alien is considered to have been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude for purposes of section 237(a)(2)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(A) (2006), even though that section makes no reference to attempt offenses.

Burglary

Matter of Louissaint, 24 I&N Dec. 754 (BIA 2009)

(1) The categorical approach for determining if a particular crime involves moral turpitude set forth in Matter of Silva-Trevino, 24 I&N Dec. 687 (A.G. 2008), requires the traditional categorical analysis, which was used by the United States Supreme Court in Gonzales v. Duenas-Alvarez, 549 U.S. 183 (2007), and includes an inquiry into whether there is a “realistic probability” that the statute under which the alien was convicted would be applied to reach conduct that does not involve moral turpitude.

(2) A conviction for burglary of an occupied dwelling in violation of section 810.02(3)(a) of the Florida Statutes is categorically a conviction for a crime involving moral turpitude. Matter of M-, 2 I&N Dec. 721 (BIA; A.G. 1946), distinguished.

Cancellation of Removal Eligibility

Matter of Garcia-Hernandez, 23 I&N Dec. 590 (BIA 2002)

(1) An alien who has been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude that falls within the “petty offense” exception in section 212(a)(2)(A)(ii)(II) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(2)(A)(ii)(II) (1994), is not ineligible for cancellation of removal under section 240A(b)(1)(C) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(b)(1)(C) (Supp. IV 1998), because he “has not been convicted of an offense under section 212(a)(2)” of the Act.

(2) An alien who has committed a crime involving moral turpitude that falls within the “petty offense” exception is not ineligible for cancellation of removal under section 240A(b)(1)(B) of the Act, because commission of a petty offense does not bar the offender from establishing good moral character under section 101(f)(3) of the Act, 8 U.S.C.§ 1101(f)(3) (Supp. IV 1998).

(3) An alien who has committed more than one petty offense is not ineligible for the “petty offense” exception if “only one crime” is a crime involving moral turpitude.

(4) The respondent, who was convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude that qualifies as a petty offense, was not rendered ineligible for cancellation of removal under section 240A(b)(1) of Act by either his conviction or his commission of another offense that is not a crime involving moral turpitude.

Matter of Deanda-Romo, 23 I&N Dec. 597 (BIA 2003)

The respondent, who was convicted of two misdemeanor crimes involving moral turpitude, is not precluded by the provisions of section 240A(d)(1)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(d)(1)(B) (2000), from establishing the requisite 7 years of continuous residence for cancellation of removal under section 240A(a)(2), because his first crime, which qualifies as a petty offense, did not render him inadmissible, and he had accrued the requisite 7 years of continuous residence before the second offense was committed.

Matter of Robles, 24 I&N Dec. 22 (BIA 2006)

(1) When the Attorney General overrules or reverses only one holding in a precedent decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals and expressly declines to consider any alternative holding in the case, the remaining holdings retain their precedential value.

(2) Misprision of a felony in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 4 (2000) is a crime involving moral turpitude. Matter of Sloan, 12 I&N Dec. 840 (A.G. 1968; BIA 1966), overruled in part.

(3) Under the "stop-time" rule in section 240A(d)(1)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(d)(1)(B) (2000), an offense is deemed to end an alien's continuous residence as of the date of its commission, even if the offense was committed prior to the enactment of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, Division C of Pub. L. No. 104-208, 110 Stat. 3009-546. Matter of Perez, 22 I&N Dec. 689 (BIA 1999), reaffirmed.

Matter of Cortez, 25 I&N Dec. 301 (BIA 2010)

(1) An alien who has been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude for which a sentence of a year or longer may be imposed has been convicted of an offense “described under” section 237(a)(2) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2) (2006), and is therefore ineligible for cancellation of removal under section 240A(b)(1)(C) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(b)(1)(C) (2006), regardless of the alien’s eligibility for the petty offense exception under section 212(a)(2)(A)(ii)(II) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(2)(A)(ii)(II) (2006). Matter of Almanza, 24 I&N Dec. 771 (BIA 2009), clarified. Matter of Gonzalez-Zoquiapan, 24 I&N Dec. 549 (BIA 2008); Matter of Gonzalez-Silva, 24 I&N Dec. 218 (BIA 2007); and Matter of Garcia-Hernandez, 23 I&N Dec. 590 (BIA 2003), explained.

(2) In determining which offenses are “described under” sections 212(a)(2), 237(a)(2), and 237(a)(3) of the Act for purposes of section 240A(b)(1)(C) of the Act, only language specifically pertaining to the criminal offense, such as the offense itself and the sentence imposed or potentially imposed, should be considered.

(3) The respondent’s misdemeanor conviction for welfare fraud in violation of section 10980(c)(2) of the California Welfare and Institutions Code rendered her ineligible for cancellation of removal under section 240A(b)(1)(C) of the Act, because it was for a crime involving moral turpitude for which she could have been sentenced to a year in county jail and was therefore for an offense “described under” section 237(a)(2) of the Act.

Child Pornography

Matter of Olquin, 23 I&N Dec. 896 (BIA 2006)

The offense of possession of child pornography in violation of section 827.071(5) of the Florida Statutes is a crime involving moral turpitude.

Child, Sexual Conduct With

Matter of Guevara-Alfaro, 25 I&N Dec. 417 (BIA 2011)

(1) Any intentional sexual conduct by an adult with a child involves moral turpitude, as long as the perpetrator knew or should have known that the victim was under the age of 16. Matter of Silva-Trevino, 24 I&N Dec. 687 (A.G. 2008), followed. Quintero-Salazar v. Keisler, 506 F.3d 688 (9th Cir. 2007), not followed.

(2) Absent otherwise controlling authority, Immigration Judges and the Board of Immigration Appeals are bound to apply all three steps of the procedural framework set forth by the Attorney General in Matter of Silva-Trevino for determining whether a particular offense constitutes a crime involving moral turpitude.

Controlled Substances

Matter of Khourn, 21 I&N Dec. 1041 (BIA 1997)

A conviction for distribution of cocaine under 21 U.S.C.§841(a)(1) (1988), is a conviction for a crime involving moral turpitude within the meaning of section 241(a)(2)(A)(ii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1251(a)(2)(A)(ii) (1994), where knowledge or intent is an element of the offense. Matter of Serna, 20 I&N Dec. 579 (BIA 1992), modified.

Matter of Zorilla-Vidal, 24 I&N Dec. 768 (BIA 2009)

Outside the jurisdiction of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, a conviction for criminal solicitation under a State’s general purpose solicitation statute is a conviction for a violation of a law relating to a controlled substance under section 237(a)(2)(B)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(B)(i) (2006), where the record of conviction reflects that the crime solicited is an offense relating to a controlled substance. Matter of Beltran, 20 I&N Dec. 521 (BIA 1992), reaffirmed.Coronado-Durazo v. INS, 123 F.3d 1322 (9th Cir. 1997), followed in jurisdiction only.

Corporal Injury on a Spouse

Matter of Tran, 21 I&N Dec. 291 (BIA 1996)

Willful infliction of corporal injury on a spouse, cohabitant, or parent of the perpetrator's child, in violation of section 273.5(a) of the California Penal Code, constitutes a crime involving moral turpitude.

Date of Admission

Matter of Shanu, 23 I&N Dec. 754 (BIA 2005)(overruled in part by Matter of Alyazju)

(1) The phrase “date of admission” in section 237(a)(2)(A)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(A)(i) (2000), refers to, among other things, the date on which a previously admitted alien is lawfully admitted for permanent residence by means of adjustment of status.

(2) An alien convicted of a single crime involving moral turpitude that is punishable by a term of imprisonment of at least 1 year is removable from the United States under section 237(a)(2)(A)(i) of the Act if the crime was committed within 5 years after the date of any admission made by the alien, whether it be the first or any subsequent admission.

Matter of Carrillo, 25 I&N Dec. 99 (BIA 2009)

In determining whether an alien whose status was adjusted pursuant to section 1 of the Cuban Refugee Adjustment Act of November 1, 1966, Pub. L. No. 89-732, 80 Stat. 1161, is removable as an alien who has been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude committed within 5 years after the alien’s “date of admission,” the admission date is calculated according to the rollback provision of section 1, rather than the date adjustment of status was granted.

Matter of Alyazji, 25 I&N Dec. 397 (BIA 2011)

In general, an alien’s conviction for a crime involving moral turpitude triggers removability under section 237(a)(2)(A)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(A)(i) (2006), only if the alien committed the crime within 5 years after the date of the admission by virtue of which he or she was then present in the United States. Matter of Shanu, 23 I&N Dec. 754 (BIA 2005), overruled in part.

Defined

Matter of Silva-Trevino, 24 I&N Dec. 687 (A.G. 2008)

(1) To determine whether a conviction is for a crime involving moral turpitude, immigration judges and the Board of Immigration Appeals should: (1) look to the statute of conviction under the categorical inquiry and determine whether there is a “realistic probability” that the State or Federal criminal statute pursuant to which the alien was convicted would be applied to reach conduct that does not involve moral turpitude; (2) if the categorical inquiry does not resolve the question, engage in a modified categorical inquiry and examine the record of conviction, including documents such as the indictment, the judgment of conviction, jury instructions, a signed guilty plea, and the plea transcript; and (3) if the record of conviction is inconclusive, consider any additional evidence deemed necessary or appropriate to resolve accurately the moral turpitude question.

(2) It is proper to make a categorical finding that a defendant’s conduct involves moral turpitude when that conduct results in conviction on the charge of intentional sexual contact with a person the defendant knew or should have known was a child.

(3) To qualify as a crime involving moral turpitude for purposes of the Immigration and Nationality Act, a crime must involve both reprehensible conduct and some degree of scienter, whether specific intent, deliberateness, willfulness, or recklessness.

Matter of Louissaint, 24 I&N Dec. 754 (BIA 2009)

(1) The categorical approach for determining if a particular crime involves moral turpitude set forth in Matter of Silva-Trevino, 24 I&N Dec. 687 (A.G. 2008), requires the traditional categorical analysis, which was used by the United States Supreme Court in Gonzales v. Duenas-Alvarez, 549 U.S. 183 (2007), and includes an inquiry into whether there is a “realistic probability” that the statute under which the alien was convicted would be applied to reach conduct that does not involve moral turpitude.

(2) A conviction for burglary of an occupied dwelling in violation of section 810.02(3)(a) of the Florida Statutes is categorically a conviction for a crime involving moral turpitude. Matter of M-, 2 I&N Dec. 721 (BIA; A.G. 1946), distinguished.

Matter of Guevara-Alfaro, 25 I&N Dec. 417 (BIA 2011)

(1) Any intentional sexual conduct by an adult with a child involves moral turpitude, as long as the perpetrator knew or should have known that the victim was under the age of 16. Matter of Silva-Trevino, 24 I&N Dec. 687 (A.G. 2008), followed. Quintero-Salazar v. Keisler, 506 F.3d 688 (9th Cir. 2007), not followed.

(2) Absent otherwise controlling authority, Immigration Judges and the Board of Immigration Appeals are bound to apply all three steps of the procedural framework set forth by the Attorney General in Matter of Silva-Trevino for determining whether a particular offense constitutes a crime involving moral turpitude.

Divisible Statutes

Matter of Lanferman, 25 I&N Dec. 721 (BIA 2012)

A criminal statute is divisible, regardless of its structure, if, based on the elements of the offense, some but not all violations of the statute give rise to grounds for removal or ineligibility for relief.

Domestic Battery

Matter of Sanudo, 23 I&N Dec. 968 (BIA 2006)

(1) An alien’s conviction for domestic battery in violation of sections 242 and 243(e)(1) of the California Penal Code does not qualify categorically as a conviction for a “crime involving moral turpitude” within the meaning of section 237(a)(2)(A)(ii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(A)(ii) (2000).

(2) In removal proceedings arising within the jurisdiction of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the offense of domestic battery in violation of sections 242 and 243(e)(1) of the California Penal Code does not presently qualify categorically as a “crime of violence” under 18 U.S.C. § 16 (2000), such that it may be considered a “crime of domestic violence” under section 237(a)(2)(E)(i) of the Act. Ortega-Mendez v. Gonzales, 450 F.3d 1010 (9th Cir. 2006), followed.

Driving Recklessly to Evade Police

Matter of Ruiz-Lopez, 25 I&N Dec. 551 (BIA 2011)

(1) The offense of driving a vehicle in a manner indicating a wanton or willful disregard for the lives or property of others while attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle in violation of section 46.61.024 of the Revised Code of Washington is a crime involving moral turpitude.

(2) The maximum sentence possible for an offense, rather than the standard range of sentencing under a State’s sentencing guidelines, determines an alien’s eligibility for the “petty offense” exception under section 212(a)(2)(A)(ii)(II) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(2)(A)(ii)(II) (2006).

Driving Under the Influence

Matter of Lopez-Meza, 22 I&N Dec. 1188 (BIA 1999)

Under Arizona law, the offense of aggravated driving under the influence, which requires the driver to know that he or she is prohibited from driving under any circumstances, is a crime involving moral turpitude.

Matter of Torres-Varela, 23 I&N Dec. 78 (BIA 2001)

Under Arizona law, the offense of aggravated driving under the influence (“DUI”) with two or more prior DUI convictions is not a crime involving moral turpitude. Matter of Lopez-Meza, 22 I&N Dec. 1188 (BIA 1999), distinguished.

Evidence

Matter of Ahortalejo-Guzman, 25 I&N Dec. 465 (BIA 2011)

Evidence outside of an alien’s record of conviction may properly be considered in determining whether the alien has been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude only where the conviction record itself does not conclusively demonstrate whether the alien was convicted of engaging in conduct that constitutes a crime involving moral turpitude. Matter of Silva-Trevino, 24 I&N Dec. 687 (A.G. 2008), followed.

Failure to Register as Sex Offender

Matter of Tobar-Lobo, 24 I&N Dec. 143 (BIA 2007)

Willful failure to register by a sex offender who has been previously apprised of the obligation to register, in violation of section 290(g)(1) of the California Penal Code, is a crime involving moral turpitude.

Falsely Obtaining a U.S. Passport

Matter of Pinzon, 26 I&N Dec. 189 (BIA 2013)

(1) An alien who enters the United States by falsely claiming United States citizenship is not deemed to have been inspected by an immigration officer, so the entry is not an “admission” under section 101(a)(13)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(13)(A) (2012).

(2) The offense of knowingly and willfully making any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement to obtain a United States passport in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(2) (2006) is a crime involving moral turpitude.

Financial Violations

Matter of L-V-C-, 22 I&N Dec. 594 (BIA 1999)

An alien convicted of causing a financial institution to fail to file currency transaction reports and of structuring currency transactions to evade reporting requirements, in violation of 31 U.S.C. §§ 5324(1) and (3) (1998), whose offense did not include any morally reprehensible conduct, is not convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude. Matter of Goldeshtein, 20 I&N Dec. 382 (BIA 1991), rev’d, 8 F.3d 645 (9th Cir. 1993), overruled.

Incedent Exposure

Matter of Cortes-Medina, 26 I&N Dec. 79 (BIA 2013)

The offense of indecent exposure in violation of section 314(1) of the California Penal Code, which includes the element of lewd intent, is categorically a crime involving moral turpitude.

Misprision of a Felony

Matter of Robles, 24 I&N Dec. 22 (BIA 2006)

(1) When the Attorney General overrules or reverses only one holding in a precedent decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals and expressly declines to consider any alternative holding in the case, the remaining holdings retain their precedential value.

(2) Misprision of a felony in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 4 (2000) is a crime involving moral turpitude. Matter of Sloan, 12 I&N Dec. 840 (A.G. 1968; BIA 1966), overruled in part.

(3) Under the “stop-time” rule in section 240A(d)(1)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(d)(1)(B) (2000), an offense is deemed to end an alien’s continuous residence as of the date of its commission, even if the offense was committed prior to the enactment of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, Division C of Pub. L. No. 104-208, 110 Stat. 3009-546. Matter of Perez, 22 I&N Dec. 689 (BIA 1999), reaffirmed.

Money Laundering

Matter of Tejwani, 24 I&N Dec. 97 (BIA 2007)

The offense of money laundering in violation of section 470.10(1) of the New York Penal Law is a crime involving moral turpitude.

Purely Political Offense

Matter of O’Cealleagh, 23 I&N Dec. 976 (BIA 2006)

(1) In order for an offense to qualify for the “purely political offense” exception to the ground of inadmissibility under section 212(a)(2)(A)(i)(I) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(2)(A)(i)(I) (2000), based on an alien’s conviction for a crime involving moral turpitude, the offense must be completely or totally “political.”

(2) The respondent is inadmissible where he properly conceded that his offense, substantively regarded, was not “purely political,” and where there was substantial evidence that the offense was not fabricated or trumped-up and therefore did not qualify from a procedural perspective as a “purely political offense,” because the circumstances surrounding his conviction in Northern Ireland for aiding and abetting the murder of two British corporals reflected a sincere effort to prosecute real lawbreakers.

Reckless Endangerment

Matter of Leal, 26 I&N Dec. 20 (BIA 2012)

The offense of “recklessly endangering another person with a substantial risk of imminent death” in violation of section 13-1201(A) of the Arizona Revised Statutes is categorically a crime involving moral turpitude under the definition in Matter of Silva-Trevino, 24 I&N Dec. 687 (A.G. 2008), even though Arizona law defines recklessness to encompass a subjective ignorance of risk resulting from voluntary intoxication.

Section 212(c) Eligibility

Matter of Fortiz, 21 I&N Dec. 1199 (BIA 1998)

(1) An alien who is deportable under section 241(a)(2)(A)(ii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1251(a)(2)(A)(ii) (1994), as an alien convicted of two or more crimes involving moral turpitude, and whose deportation proceedings were initiated prior to the April 24, 1996, enactment date of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214 (“AEDPA”), is not ineligible for a waiver under section 212(c) of the Act (to be codified at 8 U.S.C. § 1182(c)) unless more than one conviction resulted in a sentence or confinement of 1 year or longer pursuant to the former version of section 241(a)(2)(A)(i)(II), prior to its amendment by the AEDPA.

(2) For an alien to be barred from eligibility for a waiver under section 212(c) of the Act as one who “is deportable” by reason of having committed a criminal offense covered by one of the criminal deportation grounds enumerated in the statute, he or she must have been charged with, and found deportable on, such grounds.

Stalking

Matter of Ajami, 22 I&N Dec. 949 (BIA 1999)

The offense of aggravated stalking pursuant to section 750.411i of the Michigan Compiled Laws Annotated is a crime involving moral turpitude.

Matter of Sanchez-Lopez, 26 I&N Dec. 71 (BIA 2012)

The offense of stalking in violation of section 646.9 of the California Penal Code is “a crime of stalking” under section 237(a)(2)(E)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(E)(i) (2006).

Theft

Matter of Jurado, 24 I&N Dec. 29 (BIA 2006)

(1) An alien need not be charged and found inadmissible or removable on a ground specified in section 240A(d)(1)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(d)(1)(B) (2000), in order for the alleged criminal conduct to terminate the alien’s continuous residence in this country.

(2) Retail theft in violation of title 18, section 3929(a)(1) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes is a crime involving moral turpitude.

(3) Unsworn falsification to authorities in violation of title 18, section 4904(a) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes is a crime involving moral turpitude.

Trafficking in Counterfeit Goods

Matter of Kochlani, 24 I&N Dec. 128 (BIA 2007)

The offense of trafficking in counterfeit goods or services in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2329 (2000) is a crime involving moral turpitude.

Vandalism (Gang Related)

Matter of E.E. Hernandez, 26 I&N Dec. 397 (BIA 2014)

Malicious vandalism in violation of section 594(a) of the California Penal Code with a gang enhancement under section 186.22(d) of the California Penal Code, which requires that the underlying offense be committed for the benefit of a criminal street gang with the specific intent to promote criminal conduct by gang members, is categorically a crime involving moral turpitude.  

Welfare Fraud

Matter of Cortez, 25 I&N Dec. 301 (BIA 2010)

(1) An alien who has been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude for which a sentence of a year or longer may be imposed has been convicted of an offense “described under” section 237(a)(2) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2) (2006), and is therefore ineligible for cancellation of removal under section 240A(b)(1)(C) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(b)(1)(C) (2006), regardless of the alien’s eligibility for the petty offense exception under section 212(a)(2)(A)(ii)(II) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(2)(A)(ii)(II) (2006). Matter of Almanza, 24 I&N Dec. 771 (BIA 2009), clarified. Matter of Gonzalez-Zoquiapan, 24 I&N Dec. 549 (BIA 2008); Matter of Gonzalez-Silva, 24 I&N Dec. 218 (BIA 2007); and Matter of Garcia-Hernandez, 23 I&N Dec. 590 (BIA 2003), explained.

(2) In determining which offenses are “described under” sections 212(a)(2), 237(a)(2), and 237(a)(3) of the Act for purposes of section 240A(b)(1)(C) of the Act, only language specifically pertaining to the criminal offense, such as the offense itself and the sentence imposed or potentially imposed, should be considered.

(3) The respondent’s misdemeanor conviction for welfare fraud in violation of section 10980(c)(2) of the California Welfare and Institutions Code rendered her ineligible for cancellation of removal under section 240A(b)(1)(C) of the Act, because it was for a crime involving moral turpitude for which she could have been sentenced to a year in county jail and was therefore for an offense “described under” section 237(a)(2) of the Act.

CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS

Court Martial

Matter of Rivera-Valencia, 24 I&N Dec. 484 (BIA 2008)

A judgment of guilt that has been entered by a general court-martial of the United States Armed Forces qualifies as a “conviction” within the meaning of section 101(a)(48)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(48)(A) (2000).

Matter of Chavez-Alvarez, 26 I&N Dec. 274 (BIA 2014)

(1) Adjustment of status constitutes an “admission” for purposes of determining an alien’s removability under section 237(a)(2)(A)(iii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii) (2012), as an alien convicted of an aggravated felony “at any time after admission.” Matter of Rosas, 22 I&N Dec. 616 (BIA 1999), reaffirmed.

(2) An element listed in a specification in the Manual for Courts-Martial (“MCM”), which must be pled and proved beyond a reasonable doubt, is the functional equivalent of an “element” of a criminal offense for immigration purposes.

(3) The crime of sodomy by force in violation of article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, 10 U.S.C. § 925 (2000), and the Punitive Articles of the MCM relating to sodomy, is a crime of violence under 18 U.S.C. § 16 (2012) within the definition of an aggravated felony under section 101(a)(43)(F) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(43)(F)(2012).

Finality

Matter of Thomas, 21 I&N Dec. 20 (BIA 1995)

(1) Inasmuch as a conviction does not attain a sufficient degree of finality for immigration purposes until direct appellate review has been exhausted or waived, a non-final conviction cannot support a charge of deportability, and likewise does not trigger a statutory bar to relief, under a section of the Immigration and Nationality Act premised on the existence of a conviction.

(2) In determining whether an application for relief is merited as a matter of discretion, evidence of unfavorable conduct, including criminal conduct which has not culminated in a final conviction for purposes of the Act, may be considered.

(3) When considering evidence of criminality in conjunction with an application for discretionary relief, the probative value of and corresponding weight, if any, assigned to that evidence will vary according to the facts and circumstances of each case and the nature and strength of the evidence presented.

Matter of Chairez, 21 I&N Dec. 44 (BIA 1995)

(1) A right to appeal such issues as whether a violation of probation has occurred or the sentence imposed upon entry of judgment was correct will not prevent a finding of a final conviction for immigration purposes under the third prong of the standard set forth in Matter of Ozkok, 19 I&N Dec. 546 (BIA 1988), which requires that any further proceedings available to an alien must relate to the issue of “guilt or innocence of the original charge.”

(2) After a breach of a condition of an order deferring judgment and sentence under Colorado Revised Statutes § 16-7-403, no further proceedings are available to a defendant to contest his guilt.

(3) Where the period during which the respondent’s judgment and sentence were deferred under Colorado law had been completed, any right he may have had to appeal had lapsed and could no longer prevent a finding that his conviction was final.

Matter of Cardenas-Abreu, 24 I&N Dec. 795 (BIA 2009)

A pending late-reinstated appeal of a criminal conviction, filed pursuant to section 460.30 of the New York Criminal Procedure Law, does not undermine the finality of the conviction for purposes of the immigration laws.

Foreign Convictions

Matter of Dillingham, 21 I&N Dec. 1001 (BIA 1997)

The expungement of an alien’s foreign drug-related conviction pursuant to a foreign rehabilitation statute is not effective to prevent a finding of his inadmissibility pursuant to section 212(a)(2)(A)(i)(II) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(2)(A)(i)(II) (1994), even if he would have been eligible for federal first offender treatment under the provisions of 18U.S.C. § 3607(a) (1994) had he been prosecuted in the United States. Matter of Manrique, 21 I&N Dec. 3250 (BIA 1995), distinguished.

Matter of Pickering, 23 I&N Dec. 621 (BIA 2003)

(1) If a court vacates an alien’s conviction for reasons solely related to rehabilitation or immigration hardships, rather than on the basis of a procedural or substantive defect in the underlying criminal proceedings, the conviction is not eliminated for immigration purposes.

(2) Where the record indicated that the respondent’s conviction for possession of a controlled substance was quashed by a Canadian court for the sole purpose of avoiding the bar to his acquisition of permanent residence, the court’s action was not effective to eliminate the conviction for immigration purposes.

Deferred Adjudication

Matter of Punu, 22 I&N Dec. 224 (BIA 1998)

(1) The third prong of the standard for determining whether a conviction exists with regard to deferred adjudications has been eliminated pursuant to section 101(a)(48)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(48)(A) (Supp. II 1996). Matter of Ozkok, 19 I&N Dec. 546 (BIA 1988), superseded.

(2) A deferred adjudication under article 42.12, § 5 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure is a conviction for immigration purposes.

Municipal Ordinances

Matter of Cuellar-Gomez, 25 I&N Dec. 850 (BIA 2012)

(1) A formal judgment of guilt of an alien entered by a municipal court is a “conviction” under section 101(a)(48)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(48)(A) (2006), if the proceedings in which the judgment was entered were genuine criminal proceedings. Matter of Rivera-Valencia, 24 I&N Dec. 484 (BIA 2008), and Matter of Eslamizar, 23 I&N Dec. 684 (BIA 2004), followed.

(2) A Wichita, Kansas, municipal ordinance which recapitulates a Kansas statute prohibiting marijuana possession is a “law or regulation of a State . . . relating to a controlled substance” under section 237(a)(2)(B)(i) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(B)(i) (2006).

(3) Possession of marijuana after a prior municipal ordinance conviction for marijuana possession in violation of former sections 65-4162(a) and (b) of the Kansas Statutes Annotated is an aggravated felony under section 101(a)(43)(B) of the Act by virtue of its correspondence to the Federal felony of “recidivist possession,” 21 U.S.C. § 844 (2006), provided the prior conviction was final when the second offense was committed. Lopez v. Gonzales, 549 U.S. 47 (2006), followed; Carachuri-Rosendo v. Holder, 130 S. Ct. 2577 (2010), and Matter of Carachuri-Rosendo, 24 I&N Dec. 382 (BIA 2007), distinguished.

Naturalization

Matter of Gonzales-Muro, 24 I&N Dec. 472 (BIA 2008)

A denaturalized alien who committed crimes while a lawful permanent resident and concealed them during the naturalization application process is removable on the basis of the crimes, even though the alien was a naturalized citizen at the time of conviction.Costello v. INS, 376 U.S. 120 (1964), distinguished.

Pardons

Matter of Suh, 23 I&N Dec. 626 (BIA 2003)

(1) A presidential or gubernatorial pardon waives only the grounds of removal specifically set forth in section 237(a)(2)(A)(v) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. §1227(a)(2)(A)(v) (2000), and no implicit waivers may be read into the statute.

(2) The respondent’s pardon did not waive his removability as an alien convicted of domesticviolence or child abuse under section 237(a)(2)(E)(i) of the Act, because that section is not specifically included in section 237(a)(2)(A)(v).

Penalty or Punishment

Matter of Cabrera, 24 I&N Dec. 459 (BIA 2008)

The imposition of costs and surcharges in the criminal sentencing context constitutes a form of “punishment” or “penalty” for purposes of establishing that an alien has suffered a “conviction” within the meaning of section 101(a)(48)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. §1101(a)(48)(A) (2000).

Records of Conviction

Matter of Teixeira, 21 I&N Dec. 316 (BIA 1996)

(1) Where the statute under which an alien was convicted encompasses offenses that constitute firearms violations and offenses that do not, the Board of Immigration Appeals looks to the record of conviction, and to other documents admissible as evidence in proving a criminal conviction, to determine whether the specific offense of which the alien was convicted constitutes a firearms violation within the meaning of section 241(a)(2)(C) of Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1251(a)(2)(C) (Supp. V 1993).

(2) A police report, standing alone, is not part of a "record of conviction," nor does it fit any of the regulatory descriptions found at 8 C.F.R. § 3.41 (1995) for documents that are admissible as evidence in any proceeding before an Immigration Judge in proving a criminal conviction, and it therefore should not be considered in determining whether the specific offense of which an alien was convicted constituted a firearms violation.

(3) Although a police report concerning circumstances of arrest that is not part of a record of conviction is appropriately admitted into evidence for the purpose of considering an application for discretionary relief, it should not be considered for the purpose of determining deportability where the Act mandates a focus on a criminal conviction, rather than on conduct.

Matter of Madrigal, 21 I&N Dec. 323 (BIA 1996)

(1) Where the statute under which an alien has been convicted encompasses offenses that constitute firearms violations and offenses that do not, the Immigration and Naturalization Service must establish through the record of conviction, and other documents admissible as evidence in proving a criminal conviction, that the specific offense of which the alien was convicted constitutes a firearms violation within the meaning of section 241(a)(2)(C) of Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1251(a)(2)(C) (1994).

(2) The transcript from the respondent's plea and sentence hearing, during which the respondent admitted possession of a firearm, is part of the record of conviction and, consequently, was sufficient to establish that the respondent had been convicted of a firearms offense and was deportable under section 241(a)(2)(C) of the Act.

(3) The respondent's right to counsel was not violated where the Immigration Judge properly informed the respondent of his right to counsel and provided him with adequate opportunity to obtain representation.

Matter of Pichardo, 21 I&N Dec. 330 (BIA 1996)

(1) Where the statute under which an alien has been convicted encompasses offenses that constitute firearms violations and offenses that do not, the Board of Immigration Appeals will look beyond the statute, but only to consider such facts which appear from the record of conviction, or other documents admissible under federal regulations as evidence in proving a criminal conviction, to determine whether the specific offense for which the alien was convicted constitutes a firearms violation within the meaning of section 241(a)(2)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1251(a)(2)(C) (1994).

(2) Where the only criminal court document offered into the record to prove an alien's deportability under section 241(a)(2)(C) of the Act consists of a Certificate of Disposition which fails to identify the subdivision under which the alien was convicted or the weapon that he was convicted of possessing, deportability has not been established, even where the alien testifies that the weapon in his possession at the time of his arrest was a gun, since it is the crime that the alien was convicted of rather than a crime that he may have committed which determines whether he is deportable.

Matter of Milian, 25 I&N Dec. 197 (BIA 2010)

In applying the modified categorical approach to assess an alien’s conviction, it is proper to consider the contents of police reports as part of the record of conviction if they were specifically incorporated into the guilty plea or were admitted by the alien during the criminal proceedings.

Matter of J.R. Velasquez, 25 I&N Dec. 680 (BIA 2012)

(1) The documents listed in section 240(c)(3)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1229a(c)(3)(B) (2006), and 8 C.F.R. § 1003.41(a) (2011) are admissible as evidence of a criminal conviction in immigration proceedings, but pursuant to 8 C.F.R. § 1003.41(d), other probative evidence may also be admitted to prove a conviction in the discretion of the Immigration Judge.

(2) Conviction records that were submitted by electronic means are conclusively admissible as evidence of a criminal conviction in immigration proceedings if they are authenticated in the manner specified by section 240(c)(3)(C) of the Act and 8 C.F.R. § 1003.41(c), but those methods of authentication, which operate as "safe harbors," are not mandatory or exclusive, and documents that are authenticated in other ways may be admitted if they are found to be reliable.

(3) A document that requires authentication but that is not authenticated is not admissible as "other evidence that reasonably indicates the existence of a criminal conviction" within the meaning of 8 C.F.R. § 1003.41(d).

Rehabilitative Statutes

Matter of Manrique, 21 I&N Dec. 58 (BIA 1995) (superseded by Matter of Roldan, 22 I&N Dec. 512 (BIA 1999))

As a matter of policy in cases dealing with drug-related convictions under state law, any alien who has been accorded rehabilitative treatment pursuant to a state statute will not be deported if he establishes that he would have been eligible for federal first offender treatment under the provisions of 18 U.S.C. § 3607(a) (1988) had he been prosecuted under federal law. Matter of Deris, 20 I&N Dec. 5 (BIA 1989); Matter of Garcia, 19 I&N Dec. 270 (BIA 1985); Matter of Carrillo, 19 I&N Dec. 77 (BIA 1984); Matter of Forstner, 18 I&N Dec. 374 (BIA 1983); Matter of Golshan, 18 I&N Dec. 92 (BIA 1981); Matter of Kaneda, 16 I&N Dec. 677 (BIA 1979); Matter of Haddad, 16 I&N Dec. 253 (BIA 1977); and Matter of Werk, 16 I&N Dec. 234 (BIA 1977), modified.

Matter of Roldan, 22 I&N Dec. 512 (BIA 1999)

(1) Under the statutory definition of “conviction” provided at section 101(a)(48)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(48)(A) (Supp. II 1996), no effect is to be given in immigration proceedings to a state action which purports to expunge, dismiss, cancel, vacate, discharge, or otherwise remove a guilty plea or other record of guilt or conviction by operation of a state rehabilitative statute.

(2) With the enactment of the federal statute defining “conviction” with respect to an alien, our decisions in Matter of G-, 9 I&N Dec. 159 (BIA 1960, A.G. 1961); Matter of Ibarra-Oband, 12 I&N Dec. 576 (BIA 1966, A.G. 1967); Matter of Luviano, 21 I&N Dec. 235 (BIA 1996), and others which address the impact of state rehabilitative actions on whether an alien is “convicted” for immigration purposes are no longer controlling.

(3) Once an alien is subject to a “conviction” as that term is defined at section 101(a)(48)(A) of the Act, the alien remains convicted for immigration purposes notwithstanding a subsequent state action purporting to erase the original determination of guilt through a rehabilitative procedure.

(4) The policy exception in Matter of Manrique, 21 I&N Dec. 58 (BIA 1995), which accorded federal first offender treatment to certain drug offenders who had received state rehabilitative treatment is superseded by the enactment of section 101(a)(48)(A), which gives no effect to state rehabilitative actions in immigration proceedings. Matter of Manrique, supra, superseded.

(5) An alien, who has had his guilty plea to the offense of possession of a controlled substance vacated and his case dismissed upon termination of his probation pursuant to section 19-2604(1) of the Idaho Code, is considered to have a conviction for immigration purposes.

Matter of Rodriguez-Ruiz, 22 I&N Dec. 1378 (BIA 2000)

A conviction that has been vacated pursuant to article 440 of the New York Criminal Procedure Law does not constitute a conviction for immigration purposes within the meaning of section 101(a)(48)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. §1101(a)(48)(A) (Supp. IV 1998). Matter of Roldan, 22 I&N Dec. 512 (BIA 1999), distinguished.

Matter of Salazar, 23 I&N Dec. 223 (BIA 2002)

(1) An alien whose adjudication of guilt was deferred pursuant to article 42.12, section 5(a) of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure following her plea of guilty to possession of a controlled substance is considered to have been convicted of the offense. Matter of Roldan, 22 I&N Dec. 512 (BIA 1999), reaffirmed.

(2) In Lujan-Armendariz v. INS, 222 F.3d 728 (9th Cir. 2000), the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit overruled in part Matter of Roldan, supra, which will not be applied in cases arising within the jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit.

(3) In light of the decisions in United States v. Hernandez-Avalos, 251 F.3d 505 (5th Cir. 2000), cert. denied, 122 S. Ct. 305 (2001), and United States v. Hinojosa-Lopez, 130 F.3d 691 (5th Cir. 1997), the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals in Matter of K-V-D-, 22 I&N Dec. 1163 (BIA 1999), will not be applied in cases arising within the jurisdiction of the Fifth Circuit.

Matter of Luviano, 23 I&N Dec. 718 (A.G. 2005) (decided by Board February 29, 1996; decided by Attorney General January 18, 2005)

An alien whose firearms conviction was expunged pursuant to section 1203.4 of the California Penal Code has been “convicted” for immigration purposes. Matter of Marroquin, 23 I&N Dec. 705 (A.G. 2005), followed.

Matter of Marroquin, 23 I&N Dec. 705 (A.G. 2005)

(1) The federal definition of “conviction” at section 101(a)(48)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(48)(A) (2000), encompasses convictions, other than those involving first-time simple possession of narcotics, that have been vacated or set aside pursuant to an expungement statute for reasons that do not go to the legal propriety of the original judgment, and that continue to impose some restraints or penalties upon the defendant’s liberty.

(2) An alien whose firearms conviction was expunged pursuant to section 1203.4 of the California Penal Code has been “convicted” for immigration purposes.

Matter of Cabrera, 24 I&N Dec. 459 (BIA 2008)

The imposition of costs and surcharges in the criminal sentencing context constitutes a form of “punishment” or “penalty” for purposes of establishing that an alien has suffered a “conviction” within the meaning of section 101(a)(48)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. §1101(a)(48)(A) (2000).

Sentence

Matter of Esposito, 21 I&N Dec. 1 (BIA 1995)

(1) For purposes of section 212(a)(10) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(10) (1988), and its successor provision at section 212(a)(2)(B) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(2)(B) (Supp. V 1993), a sentence is “actually imposed” where a criminal court suspends the execution of a sentence, but no sentence is “actually imposed” where the imposition of sentence is suspended. Matter of Castro, 19 I&N Dec. 692 (1988), followed.

(2) Section 212(c) of the Act is ineffective to waive deportability under former section 241(a)(14) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1251(a)(14) (1988), or section 241(a)(2)(C) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1251(a)(2)(C) (Supp. V 1993), for conviction of a firearms violation, even where the firearms violation is one of two or more crimes which may render the alien inadmissible under section 212(a)(10) [now section 212(a)(2)(B)] of the Act. Matter of Montenegro, 20 I&N Dec. 603 (BIA 1992); Matter of Hernandez-Casillas, 20 I&N Dec. 262 (BIA 1990; A.G. 1991), aff’d, 983 F.2d 231 (5th Cir. 1993); and Matter of Wadud, 19 I&N Dec. 182 (BIA 1984), followed.

Matter of Perez-Ramirez, 25 I&N Dec. 203 (BIA 2010)

(1) Where a criminal alien’s sentence has been modified to include a term of imprisonment following a violation of probation, the resulting sentence to confinement is considered to be part of the penalty imposed for the original underlying crime, rather than punishment for a separate offense. (2) An alien’s misdemeanor conviction for willful infliction of corporal injury on a spouse in violation of section 273.5(a) of the California Penal Code qualifies categorically as a conviction for a “crime of violence” within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. § 16(a) (2006).

Single Scheme

Matter of Islam, 25 I&N Dec. 637 (BIA 2011)

(1) In determining whether an alien’s convictions for two or more crimes involving moral turpitude arose out of a “single scheme of criminal misconduct” within the meaning of section 237(a)(2)(A)(ii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(A)(ii) (2006), the Board will uniformly apply its interpretation of that phrase in all circuits. Matter of Adetiba, 20 I&N Dec. 506 (BIA 1992), followed.

(2) Where the respondent was convicted in two counties of forgery and possession of stolen property based on his use of multiple stolen credit or debit cards to obtain items of value from several retail outlets on five separate occasions over the course of a day, his crimes did not arise out of a “single scheme of criminal misconduct.”

Vacated Convictions

Matter of Song, 23 I&N Dec. 173 (BIA 2001)

Where a criminal court vacated the 1-year prison sentence of an alien convicted of a theft offense and revised the sentence to 360 days of imprisonment, the alien does not have a conviction for an aggravated felony within the meaning of section 101(a)(43)(G) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101(a)(43)(G) (Supp. V 1999).

Matter of Pickering, 23 I&N Dec. 621 (BIA 2003)

(1) If a court vacates an alien’s conviction for reasons solely related to rehabilitation or immigration hardships, rather than on the basis of a procedural or substantive defect in the underlying criminal proceedings, the conviction is not eliminated for immigration purposes.

(2) Where the record indicated that the respondent’s conviction for possession of a controlled substance was quashed by a Canadian court for the sole purpose of avoiding the bar to his acquisition of permanent residence, the court’s action was not effective to eliminate the conviction for immigration purposes.

Matter of Cota-Vargas, 23 I&N Dec. 849 (BIA 2005)

A trial court’s decision to modify or reduce an alien’s criminal sentence nunc pro tunc is entitled to full faith and credit by the Immigration Judges and the Board of Immigration Appeals, and such a modified or reduced sentence is recognized as valid for purposes of the immigration law without regard to the trial court’s reasons for effecting the modification or reduction. Matter of Song, 23 I&N Dec. 173 (BIA 2001), clarified; Matter of Pickering, 23 I&N Dec. 621 (BIA 2003), distinguished.

Matter of Adamiak, 23 I&N Dec. 878 (BIA 2006)

A conviction vacated pursuant to section 2943.031 of the Ohio Revised Code for failure of the trial court to advise the alien defendant of the possible immigration consequences of a guilty plea is no longer a valid conviction for immigration purposes.

Matter of Chavez-Martinez, 24 I&N Dec. 272 (BIA 2007)

(1) An alien seeking to reopen proceedings to establish that a conviction has been vacated bears the burden of proving that the conviction was not vacated solely for immigration purposes.

(2) Where the respondent presented no evidence to prove that his conviction was not vacated solely for immigration purposes, he failed to meet his burden of showing that his motion to reopen should be granted.

Violations

Matter of Eslamizar, 23 I&N Dec. 684 (BIA 2004)

An alien found guilty of a “violation” under Oregon law in a proceeding conducted pursuant to section 153.076 of the Oregon Revised Statutes does not have a “conviction” for immigration purposes under section 101(a)(48)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(48)(A) (2000).

Youthful Offenders

Matter of Devison, 22 I&N Dec. 1362 (BIA 2000)

(1) An adjudication of youthful offender status pursuant to Article 720 of the New York Criminal Procedure Law, which corresponds to a determination of juvenile delinquency under the Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 5031-5042 (1994 & Supp. II 1996), does not constitute a judgment of conviction for a crime within the meaning of section 101(a)(48)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(48)(A) (Supp. IV 1998).

Matter of V-X-, 26 I&N Dec. 147 (BIA 2013)

(1) A grant of asylum is not an “admission” to the United States under section 101(a)(13)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(13)(A) (2006).

(2) When termination of an alien’s asylum status occurs in conjunction with removal proceedings pursuant to 8 C.F.R. § 1208.24 (2013), the Immigration Judge should ordinarily make a threshold determination regarding the termination of asylum status before resolving issues of removability and eligibility for relief from removal.

(3) An adjudication of “youthful trainee” status pursuant to section 762.11 of the Michigan Compiled Laws is a “conviction” under section 101(a)(48)(A) of the Act because such an adjudication does not correspond to a determination of juvenile delinquency under the Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 5031-5042 (2006). Matter of Devison, 22 I&N Dec. 1362 (BIA 2000), followed.

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