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OVERVIEW & KEY TERMS

  • Crime Involving Moral Turpitude: Vaguely defined as a depraved or immoral act, or a violation of the basic duties owed to fellow man, or recently as a “reprehensible act” with a mens rea of at least recklessness. Matter of Silva-Trevino, 24 I&N Dec. 687 (AG 2008). Traditionally a CIMT involves intent to commit fraud, commit theft with intent to permanently deprive the owner, or inflict great bodily harm, as well as some reckless or malicious offenses and some offenses with lewd intent.
  • Aggravated Felony: Those types of criminal offenses that carry the most severe consequences in immigration court. A conviction for an Aggravated Felony will stripe the immigration court of the ability to grant any discretionary relief. See the Offenses tab for a listing of Aggravated Felonies.
  • Deportable: Any non-citizen currently present in the US without lawful status is deportable. A non-citizen may become deportable if conviction of certain criminal offenses. See the Offenses table for a listing of Deportable offenses.
  • Inadmissible: Individuals who are inadmissible are not permitted by law to enter or remain in the US. The Immigration and Nationality Act sets forth grounds for inadmissibility. For certain grounds of inadmissibility, it may be possible for a person to obtain a waiver of that inadmissibility. In some cases, exceptions are written into the law and no waiver is required if the exception is met.
  • Cancellation of Removal: A form of relief available to non-citizens who have been placed in removal proceedings. There are different criteria for eligibility depending on an individual’s immigration status. Individuals who are convicted of Aggravated Felonies are not eligible for this form of relief.
  • Adjustment of Status: The process that you can use to apply for LPR status when you are already present in the United States. It provides an avenue for individuals to obtain a Green Card without returning to their home country for visa processing.
  • Detainer: An immigration detainer or immigration hold is a tool used by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials when the agency identifies potentially deportable individuals who are held in jails or prisons across the nation. Detainers can be issued by an authorized immigration official or local police officer designated to act as an immigration official. Detainers instruct the detaining facility to hold individuals for up to 48 business hours beyond the time they otherwise would have been released. Detainers are only requests made by ICE; compliance is voluntary. The detaining facility does have the discretion not to comply with the request. In order for an immigration official to issue a detainer they must have probable cause that the person is deportable.