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Will I Be Deported for A Crime Involving Moral Turpitude? Not Necessarily!

May 25, 2021

What Is a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude?

A conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude (“CIMT”) can – potentially – impact an immigrant’s ability to remain in the United States of America. Being convicted of a CIMT can render a noncitizen deportable, inadmissible, and/or barred from relief. All of this – however – depends on a few grounds.

Will I Be Deported for Being Convicted of A CIMT?

A single conviction of a CIMT can make a noncitizen deportable, but only if (1) the offense carries a maximum possible sentence of one year or more, and (2) the person committed the offense within five years “after the date of admission.” See Matter of Alyazji, 25 I&N Dec. 397, 398 (BIA 2011).

Thus, in order to avoid becoming deportable for one CIMT conviction, the offense must have a potential sentence of 364 days or less or the person must have committed the offense more than five years after the date of an admission or both.

I Have a Green Card but Have Been Convicted of A Crime Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMT), What Does This Mean?

If you are a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) – also known as a green card holder, but have only had your green card for less than five years then a single crime involving CIMT that is punishable by a term of imprisonment of at least 1 year would render you removable from the United States under section 237(a)(2)(A)(i) of the Act if the crime was committed within five (5) years after the date of any admission made by you, whether it be the first or any subsequent admission. See Matter of Shanu, 23 I&N Dec. 754 (BIA 2005) (overruled in part by Matter of Alyazji, 25 I&N Dec. 397 (BIA 2011).

Thus, you must have committed the CIMT within five years after your “date of admission.” The BIA states that the “date of admission” refers to “the admission by virtue of which the alien was then in the United States.” Matter of Alyazji, 25 I&N Dec. 397, 398 (BIA 2011).

I Have a Green Card but I Was Convicted of Two or More CIM Ts – Now What?

A person who is subject to the grounds of deportability is deportable for two or more CIMT convictions that occur after admission, as long as they do not arise from a single scheme of criminal misconduct. INA § 237(a)(2)(A)(ii); 8 USC § 1227(a)(2)(A)(ii).

If you have committed two or more CIMTs, you are not – necessarily - precluded from establishing the requisite seven (7) years of continuous residence for cancellation of removal under section 240A(a)(2). However, to be granted 42A cancellation, you must have been an LPR for five (5) years and have resided in the United States continually for not less than seven (7) years after any admission, and not have been convicted of an aggravated felony. A grant of LPR cancellation of removal would waive any ground of inadmissibility or deportability, aside from grounds pertaining to an aggravated felony.

Who Can I Contact if I Have More Questions?

At The Town Law, we understand just how stressful facing immigration matters can be. With our vast experience handling immigration cases throughout Bucks County, Delaware County, Chester County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia County in Pennsylvania, we are well-equipped to ensure you get the best result possible with attentive attorneys by your side throughout the process. Contact our firm today for a free consultation. Our staff of experienced attorneys is dedicated to the best outcomes for all of our clients.