Certain crimes, such as Aggravated Felonies (as defined by Section 101(a)(43)(A)-(U)) or Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude (defined on a case by case basis, but are generally acts that are inherently vile and evil) disqualify an individual from applying for specific forms of relief or waivers. For that reason, the only way such an individual may remain in the country or obtain his/her citizenship is through post-conviction relief/vacating the non-waivable conviction.
Per INA Section 101(a)(43)(A) – (U)
- Murder, rape, or sexual abuse of a minor;
- Illicit trafficking in a controlled substance
- Illicit trafficking in firearms or destructive devices
- An offense relating to engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specific unlawful activity if the amount of the funds exceeded $10,000;
- A crime of violence for which the term of imprisonment is at least one year;
- A theft or burglary offense for which the term of imprisonment [is] at least one year;
- An offense relating to the demand for or receipt of ransom or child pornography;
- An offense relating to racketeer influenced corrupt organizations;
- An offense relating to the owning, controlling, managing, or supervising of a prostitution business;
- An offense relating to gathering or transmitting national defense information;
- An offense that involves fraud or deceit in which the loss to the victim or victims exceeds $10,000;
- An offense relating to alien smuggling;
- An offense committed by an alien who was previously deported on the basis of a conviction for another aggravated felony;
- An offense which either is falsely making, forging, counterfeiting, mutilating, or altering a instrument;
An offense relating to a failure to appear by a defendant for service of sentence if the underlying office is punishable by imprisonment for a term of 5 years or more;
- An offense relating to commercial bribery, counterfeiting, forgery, or trafficking in vehicles the identification numbers of which have been altered for which the term of imprisonment is at least one year.
- An offense relating to obstruction of justice, perjury or subornation of perjury, or bribery of a witness, for which the term of imprisonment is at least one year;
- An offense relating to a failure to appear before a court pursuant to a court order to answer to or dispose of a charge of a felony for which a sentence of 2 years’ imprisonment or more may be imposed; and
- An attempt or conspiracy to commit an offense described in this Section.
Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMT)
As mentioned, CIMTs involve crimes that inherently immoral and contrary to community values. Examples include:
In Massachusetts, judges may vacate prior convictions upon a showing that “justice may not have been done” in the prior proceedings. This includes convictions arising either from trials or guilty pleas. Although such motions are generally disfavored, they can be sucessfully brought.
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