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The Crime Involving Moral Turpitude deportation ground

On Behalf of | Feb 25, 2022 | Citizenship |

To become a citizen of the U.S., immigrants must prove that they possess “good moral character.” The Immigration and Nationality Act details bars to GMC, which could affect either a person’s admissibility or, if admissibility is a moot point, become grounds for deportation.

Specific acts, activities, convictions, offenses or circumstances that occur within the statutory period of naturalization may trigger what the INA refers to as “conditional bars.” These acts fall within several categories, one of which is “Crime Involving Moral Turpitude.

What is a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude?

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, no statutory definition exists for crimes involving moral turpitude. Rather, case law and state laws provide guidance when the courts attempt to determine if a defendant’s actions rise to the standard of CIMT. However, the courts generally agree that an offense is a CIMT if it involves willful conduct that is intrinsically wrong and morally unacceptable and if the essence of said offense is evil, malicious or reckless. Moreover, the Attorney General decreed that to find a person guilty of a CIMT, the courts must first prove that he or she committed the act with some sort of knowledge of his or her guilt.

When is a CIMT grounds for deportation?

Per the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, a CIMT can become grounds for deportation if the conviction falls within one of two categories. The first is if a noncitizen receives two or more convictions for crimes involving moral turpitude that occur either after he or she arrives in the U.S. on any type of visa or after an adjustment of status. The second is if a noncitizen commits a CIMT within five years of his or her last admission to the U.S., and the punishment for the crime involves a potential jail sentence of one year.

There are exceptions to the CIMT ground, as well as ways to avoid deportation despite convictions. An attorney can help individuals charged with crimes involving moral turpitude explore their defense options.