Crimes of Moral Turpitude

Immigrants convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude or who admit to a Department of Homeland Security or an immigration officer to having committed a crime of moral turpitude, or who admit committing acts that constitute the essential elements of such crime are inadmissible and are subject to deportation under INA 212(a)(2)(A).  A crime of moral turpitude encompasses conduct that is inherently base, vile or depraved, and contrary to the accepted rules of morality.  Crimes of moral turpitude include crimes against individuals, government or property, sexual, weapons or drug offenses as well as fraud. It is important to realize that the term “conviction” under immigration law includes persons who were convicted of a crime of moral turpitude. as well as persons who admit to having committed a crime of moral turpitude. The Board of Immigration Appeals adopted a three-part test for the acceptance of an admission:

1.  the admitted conduct must constitute the essential elements of the crime;

2.  the applicant mus thave been provided with a definition of the essential elements of the offense prior to his/her admission; and

3.  the admission must be voluntary.

An alien is removable from the United States if he or she is convicted of a crime of moral turpitude, committed within five years of admission to the United States and is imprisoned for one year or longer for the crime.  Removal may also be based on convictions of more than one crime involving moral turpitude occurring at any time after entry, not arising out of a single scheme of misconduct, regardless of whether the conviction resulted from a single trial.  USCIS will not deport an alien if he is convicted of a petty offense.  A conviction is considered a petty offense if the maximum penalty possible for the crime does not exceed imprisonment for one year and the alien was not sentenced to a term of imprisonment in excess of six months.  The petty offense exception is not applicable if a foreign national committed or admitted to more than one crimes of moral turpitude.  An alien may be removed if he has been convicted of a petty offense within five years of admission.  The government takes the position that the petty offense exception does not apply to drug cases.  An alien may not be inadmissible if he or she committed the crime while under age of 18 and if the crime was committed more than five years prior to the date of the application for entry or for a visa to enter the United States.  If imprisoned, teh alien must have been released more than five years prior to the application for admission.

If you have been convicted or admitted to the commission of a crime of moral turpitude contact our office to explore whether you are eligible for remedies from inadmissibility and removal such as waivers or cancellation of removal.