REPRESENTING NONCITIZEN CRIMINAL DEFENDANTS: A NATIONAL GUIDE

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1 REPRESENTING NONCITIZEN CRIMINAL DEFENDANTS: A NATIONAL GUIDE

2 SUMMARY OF CONTENTS PREFACE ABOUT THE DEFENDING IMMIGRANTS PARTNERSHIP HOW TO USE THIS MANUAL WHERE TO GET HELP iii iv vi ix CHAPTER 1: CHAPTER 2: CHAPTER 3: CHAPTER 4: REASONS TO CONSIDER THE IMMIGRATION CONSEQUENCES OF A NONCITIZEN CRIMINAL DEFENDANT CLIENT S CASE 1 DETERMINING YOUR CRIMINAL DEFENDANT CLIENT S CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION STATUS 15 POSSIBLE IMMIGRATION CONSEQUENCES OF A NONCITIZEN CRIMINAL DEFENDANT CLIENT S CASE. 29 ANALYZING STATE CRIMINAL DISPOSITIONS UNDER FEDERAL IMMIGRATION LAW 62 STRATEGIES FOR AVOIDING THE POTENTIAL NEGATIVE IMMIGRATION CONSEQUENCES OF A CRIMINAL CASE.. 90 CHAPTER 5: APPENDIX A: APPENDIX B: APPENDIX C: APPENDIX D: APPENDIX E: SAMPLE CLIENT IMMIGRATION QUESTIONNAIRE ALPHABET SOUP AGGRAVATED FELONY PRACTICE AIDS CRIMES OF MORAL TURPITUDE: TABLE OF CASES ACCESSORY OR PREPARATORY OFFENSES AND THEIR IMMIGRATION EFFECT APPENDIX F: PARTICULARLY SERIOUS CRIME BARS ON ASYLUM AND WITHHOLDING OF REMOVAL: CASE LAW STANDARDS AND SAMPLE DETERMINATIONS APPENDIX G: NATURALIZATION CHART [APPENDICES H, I: INTENTIONALLY OMITTED] APPENDIX J: SOME RELEVANT IMMIGRATION STATUTORY PROVISIONS APPENDIX K: REMOVAL DEFENSE CHECKLIST IN CRIMINAL CHARGE CASES ii

3 PREFACE This manual is an adaptation of a publication prepared mainly for use by lawyers representing noncitizen defendants accused of crimes in New York State (Representing Noncitizen Criminal Defendants in New York State), but revised and supplemented to address issues faced by lawyers representing noncitizen defendants in states across the country. The manual is intended to assist lawyers in complying with their professional and ethical duty to investigate and advise noncitizen clients not only of the potential penal law consequences of a criminal case, but also the potential immigration consequences and possible ways to avoid negative immigration consequences. For, as the American Bar Association recognizes in its Standards for Criminal Justice, it may well be that many clients greatest potential difficulty, and greatest priority, will be the immigration consequences of conviction. (See Chapter 1, section 1.4). While designed primarily for defense lawyers representing noncitizens in criminal proceedings, this manual is also intended to be useful for other lawyers or advocates representing or counseling noncitizens on issues involving the interplay between federal immigration law and state criminal law. This includes immigration lawyers who are consulted by criminal lawyers or by noncitizen defendants in criminal proceedings, or who represent noncitizens with criminal records in immigration removal proceedings. This also includes other immigrant advocates who counsel or represent noncitizens with criminal records affirmatively seeking U.S. citizenship, lawful permanent resident status, asylum, or other legal status in the United States. This manual is also intended to be useful for the immigrant himself or herself who is facing the various potential immigration consequences of a criminal case, and who is seeking a better understanding of his or her legal situation and possible strategies to avoid any potential adverse immigration consequences. Finally, for a listing of some of the arguments that may be raised by a convicted noncitizen in later removal proceedings in order to avoid any potential negative immigration consequences, the reader should refer to Appendix K Removal Defense Checklist in Criminal Charge Cases. This resource may be useful not only for immigration lawyers who represent noncitizens in immigration removal proceedings, but also for the criminal lawyer who may choose to represent some of his or her noncitizen clients in such proceedings, or for the immigrant who must defend himself or herself in these later immigration proceedings without the benefit of counsel. This is a rapidly changing area of law. Updates on subsequent law and practice developments in this area of law can be found at and also on the individual websites of the Defending Immigrants Partnership partner organizations (see below WHERE TO GET HELP). iii

4 THE DEFENDING IMMIGRANTS PARTNERSHIP OUR MISSION. For a noncitizen facing criminal charges today, the right to defense counsel who understands the immigration consequences of criminal dispositions may be all that stands between continued permanent, temporary or potential residence as a member of our community and the other side of the border. The Defending Immigrants Partnership, a joint initiative comprised of the National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA), the New York State Defenders Association s Immigrant Defense Project (NYSDA IDP), the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC), and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild ( National Immigration Project ), represents an unprecedented collaboration among the foremost immigration advocacy and defense organizations with expertise in the immigration consequences of crime and the one national legal organization devoted exclusively to ensuring high-quality legal representation for indigent clients in criminal and civil matters. Since its inception in October 2002, the Partnership has coordinated on a national level the necessary collaboration between public defense counsel and immigration law experts to ensure that indigent noncitizen defendants are provided effective criminal defense counsel to avoid or minimize the immigration consequences of their criminal dispositions. To that end, the Partnership offers defender programs and individual defense counsel critical resources and training about the immigration consequences of crimes, actively encourages and supports development of in-house immigration specialists in defender programs, forges connections between local criminal defenders and immigration advocates, and provides defenders technical assistance in criminal cases. Many of our resources are available at our website: Our work is guided and carried out by the following principal partners: Katherine A. Brady, Senior Staff Attorney, ILRC Michelle Fei, Staff Attorney, NYSDA IDP Benita Jain, Staff Attorney, NYSDA IDP Angie Junck, Staff Attorney, ILRC Dan Kesselbrenner, Director, National Immigration Project Richard Goemann, Defender Legal Services of NLADA Joanne Macri, Director, NYSDA IDP Manuel D. Vargas, Senior Counsel, NYSDA IDP Jo-Ann Wallace, President & CEO, NLADA We are also indebted to Marianne Yang, former Director of NYSDA Immigrant Defense Project, Maureen James, former Associate Attorney at NLADA, and Ross Shepard, former Director of Defender Legal Services of NLADA, who were instrumental in producing DIP's first national manual. iv

5 OUR FUNDERS. The Partnership is currently funded by the Gideon Project of the Open Society Institute. The Partnership received funding from the JEHT Foundation as well as start-up support from the Ford Foundation. CONTACT US AT: Immigrant Legal Resource Center c/o Angie Junck, Staff Attorney 1663 Mission Street, Suite 602 San Francisco, CA P: ext. 586 F: National Immigration Project c/o Dan Kesselbrenner, Executive Director 14 Beacon Street, Suite 602 Boston, MA P: ext. 2 F: National Legal Aid and Defender Association c/o Richard Goemann, Director Defender Legal Services 1140 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 900 Washington, DC P: x212 F: NYSDA Immigrant Defense Project c/o Joanne Macri, Director 3 West 29th Street Suite 803 New York, NY P: F: v

6 HOW TO USE THIS MANUAL Immigration law is a complex area of law and has become increasingly so in recent years. Unfortunately, the body of law relevant to understanding the immigration consequences of a criminal case is no exception. First and foremost, this manual attempts to organize and present this area of immigration law in a way that will be useful to criminal defense practitioners representing noncitizen criminal defendant clients in criminal proceedings. (As this area of law evolves and changes rather constantly, the defense attorney should keep abreast of changes in the law in order to properly counsel and prepare an appropriate defense for his or her client). This manual is also designed to serve as a reference source for immigration systems advocates representing or counseling noncitizens in later immigration removal proceedings, and to immigrants themselves who are facing the various potential immigration consequences of a criminal case, and who seek a better understanding of their legal situation and possible strategies to avoid any potential adverse immigration consequences in either criminal or immigration proceedings. The user may choose to access the immigration law information presented in this manual in several different ways. OVERVIEW: For a general introduction to the immigration issues that may be present in a criminal case and their importance, it is advised that all users of this manual first read, or at least skim, Chapter 1, Reasons to Consider the Immigration Consequences of a Noncitizen Criminal Defendant Client s Case. QUICK ACCESS TO NECESSARY INFORMATION: The defense lawyer seeking quick answers and/or suggestions on immigration issues that may arise in a specific criminal case will no doubt wish to go directly to some of the appendices included in this manual. For strategies to avoid any identified potential negative immigration consequences, the quick access user may wish to refer to Chapter 5, Strategies for Avoiding the Potential Negative Immigration Consequences of a Criminal Case. THE IN-DEPTH APPROACH: The defense lawyer seeking a more in-depth understanding of the immigration issues in a noncitizen client s criminal case is advised to read or review the five chapters of the text of this manual in the sequence in which they are presented. In addition to Chapter 1 (see above), the text of the manual covers the following: Chapter 2, Determining Your Criminal Defendant Client s Citizenship and Immigration Status, explains how you may determine whether a particular client is a noncitizen and thus subject to the immigration laws (see section 2.2). Once you have determined that a client is a noncitizen, Chapter 2 proceeds to explain how to determine the client s particular immigration status (see section 2.3). This determination may be crucial to understanding the possible immigration consequences of the criminal case. vi

7 Chapter 3, Possible Immigration Consequences of a Noncitizen Criminal Defendant Client s Case, lays out the possible immigration consequences of the criminal case based on your noncitizen client s particular immigration status. This chapter analyzes the possible consequences separately for lawful permanent residents (see section 3.2), refugees or asylees (see section 3.3), and other noncitizens who are not lawful permanent residents or refugees/asylees but who might be eligible now or in the future for such status (see section 3.4). In addition, Chapter 3 describes other immigration-related issues to consider for non- citizen clients who do not fall into any of these categories, or who do but who will be unable to avoid removal (see section 3.5). Chapter 4, Analyzing State Criminal Dispositions Under Federal Immigration Law, first explains how to analyze whether a disposition will be deemed a conviction triggering immigration consequences. It then analyzes the immigration import of sentences such as prison sentences, suspended sentences, and probation. Chapter 4 also explains the analytical approach that immigration judges and federal courts take in determining whether a conviction for any particular offense falls within a category of removal (deportation). That approach, the Categorical Approach, is a rigorous method that focuses first and foremost on the elements of an offense as set forth in the criminal statute and judicially interpreted. Only in certain prescribed situations will the courts look beyond those elements to use a Modified Categorical Approach that requires looking to certain other documents within the criminal record. In addition, Chapter 4 discusses various accessory and preparatory offenses as potential alternatives to convictions for underlying crimes, where a conviction for the accessory or preparatory offense might not trigger the negative immigration impact that would be triggered by a conviction for the underlying offense. Finally, Chapter 5 (see above) represents the culmination of the analysis of the preceding chapters. It suggests strategies for avoiding negative immigration consequences that may be available in some criminal cases and/or in subsequent immigration proceedings. Chapter 5 first lists certain generally applicable strategies (see section 5.3). It then lists strategies specific to cases involving drug charges (see section 5.4), violent offense charges (see section 5.5), property offense charges (see section 5.6), and firearm charges (see section 5.7). It concludes with a new section on strategies and resources for avoiding the potential immigration consequences of a criminal case in later immigration removal proceedings (see section 5.8). APPENDICES: In addition to Appendix A, Sample Client Immigration Questionnaire, the manual contains other appendices to use as aids in determining immigration consequences. These are Appendix B, Alphabet Soup, Appendix C, Aggravated Felony Practice Aids, Appendix D, Crimes of Moral Turpitude: Table of Cased, Appendix E, Accessory or Preparatory Offenses and Their Immigration Effect, Appendix F, Particularly Serious Crime Bars on Asylum and Withholding of Removal, Appendix J, Some Relevant Immigration Statutory vii

8 Provisions and Appendix K, Removal Defense Checklist in Criminal Charge Cases. NOTE ON REFERENCES TO PERTINENT FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AGENCIES: On March 1, 2003, as a result of the enactment of the Homeland Security Act in 2002, the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) within the U.S. Department of Justice ceased to exist, and its functions were distributed among three bureaus within the new Department of Homeland Security. The three new bureaus in the Department of Homeland Security are the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS), the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (BICE), and the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (BCBP). This manual refers collectively to the federal government agencies that currently carry out the functions formerly carried out by the INS as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). viii

9 WHERE TO GET HELP We welcome defense attorneys to contact the Defending Immigrants Partnership, and to take advantage of the numerous resources we make available through our website at Among resources created to date, the Defending Immigrants Partnership has, together with local partners, produced jurisdiction-specific charts of commonly charged criminal offenses and their potential immigration impact for ARIZONA, CALIFORNIA, CONNECTICUT, FLORIDA, ILLINOIS, MASSACHUSETTS, NEW JERSEY, NEW YORK, NEW MEXICO, NORTH CAROLINA, TEXAS, VERMONT, VIRGINIA, WASHINGTON, and for FEDERAL CRIMES. For additional information and guidance on the immigration issues in criminal cases, we refer users of this manual to the following excellent national resource materials: Immigration Law and Crimes, authored by Dan Kesselbrenner and Lory D. Rosenberg, and updated by Norton Tooby, under the auspices of the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (published by West Group, 620 Opperman Drive, St. Paul, MN / (800) ). Criminal Defense of Immigrants, by Norton Tooby with Katherine A. Brady (published by The Law Offices of Norton Tooby, nd Street, Oakland, CA / (510) ). We refer defense attorneys in New York State to Representing Noncitizen Criminal Defendants in New York State, principally authored by Manuel D. Vargas (published by the New York State Defenders Association / (518) ). This national manual is largely an adaptation of that publication. Defense attorneys in the Ninth Circuit should consult Defending Immigrants in the Ninth Circuit: Impact of Crimes under California and Other State Laws, authored by Katherine Brady with Norton Tooby, Michael Mehr, and Angie Junck and published by the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, , For the latest information on immigration law developments relevant to representing noncitizen criminal defendants, we refer readers to the Defending Immigrants Partnership website at as well as to the websites of partner organizations: ix

10 When immigration counsel is required for a specific case, defense lawyers are encouraged to contact an immigration lawyer with expertise in criminal/immigration issues. An expert should be aware of the latest developments in the law relevant to your client s particular situation. For referrals to appropriate immigration lawyers, defense lawyers may contact the local chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Contact the Washington, D.C. AILA national office at (202) for a current telephone number for these local AILA chapters. x

11 CHAPTER 1 Reasons to Consider the Immigration Consequences of a Noncitizen Criminal Defendant Client s Case * 1.1 IMPACT OF RECENT LEGISLATION AND ENFORCEMENT POLICIES RISK THAT A CRIMINAL DISPOSITION WILL TRIGGER YOUR NONCITIZEN CLIENT S REMOVAL FROM THE U.S. BASED ON DEPORTABILITY OR INADMISSIBILITY A Deportability v. inadmissibility B What criminal dispositions trigger deportability? C What criminal dispositions trigger inadmissibility? D When do you need to be concerned that the criminal disposition may also be eliminating an available possibility of relief from deportability or inadmissibility? E What will happen if the disposition of the criminal case triggers deportability or inadmissibility? F What are the long-term implications of a removal order for your noncitizen client? RISK THAT A CRIMINAL DISPOSITION WILL NEGATIVELY AFFECT ELIGIBILITY FOR U.S. CITIZENSHIP FOR YOUR NONCITIZEN CLIENT WHO IS A LAWFUL PERMANENT RESIDENT ETHICAL DUTY TO ADVISE YOUR NONCITIZEN CLIENT OF THE IMMIGRATION CONSEQUENCES OF A CRIMINAL CASE IMPORTANT DIFFERENCE THAT YOU AS A CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER CAN MAKE FOR YOUR NONCITIZEN CLIENT 12 1

12 1.1 THE IMPACT OF RECENT LEGISLATION AND ENFORCEMENT POLICIES During the closing years of the 20th century, Congress seven times amended the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to increase the possible negative consequences of criminal convictions and conduct for noncitizen criminal defendants. 1 In particular, the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA), which came into effect on April 24, 1996, and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA), which generally came into effect on April 1, 1997, dramatically increased the negative immigration consequences. In addition, the federal government has adopted stricter immigration law enforcement policies in recent years, most particularly following the tragic events of September 11, As a result of these changes in the immigration law and in enforcement of the law, now more than ever your noncitizen criminal defendant client may be subject to detention and removal from the United States following convictions of relatively minor criminal offenses, often without any prospect of a waiver or other relief. Your noncitizen client who is not lawfully present but who has some claim to lawful status (e.g. married to a U.S. citizen) might be made permanently ineligible to be admitted as a lawful immigrant if convicted of certain crimes, or if s/he merely admits having committed a crime. For example, such a client would be made permanently inadmissible and subject to detention and removal by a conviction or confession of any drug-related offense (with the possibility of a waiver of inadmissibility existing only for a single offense of simple possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana). Even if your noncitizen client is someone whose life or freedom would be threatened in the country to which he or she would be removed, a conviction of certain crimes could preclude any possibility of halting such a removal. Finally, your immigrant client who wishes to become a U.S. citizen might be made ineligible for at least five years by a criminal conviction or admission of criminal conduct or other evidence of lack of good moral character coming out of a criminal proceeding. At the same time as Congress has been making the immigration consequences of criminal conduct and convictions ever harsher, the federal government has been devoting greatly increased resources to enforcing these consequences. As a result, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) (formerly the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)) is identifying more and more noncitizens who are removable on criminal grounds, serving detainers and obtaining removal orders against such noncitizens while they are in criminal custody, and taking such noncitizens into DHS custody immediately upon release from state custody. It is thus far less likely than it was before that an individual who has become subject to removal proceedings due to a criminal conviction or to criminal conduct will slip through the cracks and not be placed in such proceedings, or 2

13 will otherwise avoid removal. In fact, DHS statistics demonstrate the effect that these amendments to the law and the increased funding have had. In fiscal year 2004, the DHS removed 42,510 noncitizens based on criminal grounds, compared to only 1,221 noncitizens deported or excluded based on criminal grounds twenty years earlier in fiscal year Together, the harsher character of the law and its increased enforcement now make it more important than ever that you determine, for each of your clients, if the client is a citizen or not (one should not jump to quick assumptions on the basis of what your client tells you even your client may not know). If your client is a noncitizen, you then should determine in what noncitizen category he or she falls. On the basis of that information, you and your client should consider the immigration consequences of each choice that your client will face during the criminal proceedings, such as whether to plead guilty to a particular criminal charge. Indeed, for many of your noncitizen clients, the immigration consequences of a criminal conviction or other disposition may now be far more severe and lasting than the penal consequences. 1.2 THE RISK THAT A CRIMINAL DISPOSITION WILL TRIGGER YOUR NONCITIZEN CLIENT S REMOVAL FROM THE UNITED STATES BASED ON DEPORTABILITY OR INADMISSIBILITY Removal from the United States is the possible immigration consequence that will probably be of most immediate concern to your noncitizen criminal defendant client. Removal is a new immigration law term-of-art, introduced by IIRIRA in It encompasses both what used to be called deportation and exclusion under prior immigration law. The immigration statute subjects a noncitizen to removal based on an evergrowing list of criminal offenses. In addition, the law now provides that, if your client is convicted of certain offenses or receives a jail sentence of a certain length, s/he will not be able to ask the immigration judge in his or her immigration hearing for any relief from removal that may have been available in the past. 1.2.A Deportability v. Inadmissibility In order to help your noncitizen client avoid removal, you first need to know that there are two separate parts of the immigration law that may trigger removal based on a criminal offense the grounds of deportability 2 and the grounds of inadmissibility. 3 Which set of grounds applies to your client, or whether both apply, depends on your client s particular immigration status and situation. 3

14 Some criminal defense lawyers may be familiar with the old immigration law distinction between grounds of deportability and those of excludability. Prior to the IIRIRA amendments, the grounds of deportability applied to individuals who had entered the United States, whether lawfully or not. The excludability grounds, on the other hand, applied to individuals seeking lawful admission from outside the United States or at a port of entry. The new immigration laws preserve, to some extent, the old distinction between deportability and excludability (now inadmissibility) but make a significant modification in their respective applicability. The deportability grounds are now applicable only to individuals who have been lawfully admitted to the United States, e.g., a lawful permanent resident (LPR) with a so-called green card (see Chap. 2, section 2.3.A). The grounds of inadmissibility apply to everyone else, even individuals who have entered but have not been lawfully admitted to the United States. In addition, the inadmissibility grounds may be applied to lawfully admitted individuals when such individuals travel abroad. They may be applied to a lawfully admitted individual at the time s/he seeks readmission, or at any time after the reentry. In practical terms, this means that your LPR client generally needs to be concerned primarily with the deportability grounds, but may also need to be concerned with the inadmissibility grounds if s/he may travel outside the United States. And, of course, the grounds of inadmissibility will be the primary concern for an LPR client arrested while seeking readmission after a trip abroad, e.g., returning LPR charged with drug possession at a U.S. international airport or at a U.S.-Canada or U.S.-Mexico border crossing point. In contrast, your noncitizen client who is not an LPR but who wishes to remain in the United States should be concerned primarily with the grounds of inadmissibility. A non-lpr client generally need not be concerned with the deportability grounds. This may include even your noncitizen client who has been lawfully admitted but only for a temporary period of admission, e.g., admission on a valid visitor or student visa, rather than for permanent residence. Even though technically subject to the deportability grounds as a lawfully admitted individual, such a client, as a practical matter, will be in the same position as a non-lawfully admitted individual because his or her lawful status will likely expire or be terminated during or subsequent to the criminal proceedings. Such a client may be able to remain in the country only if s/he has some possibility of obtaining lawful admission status. In such a case, the issue will be avoiding inadmissibility. 4

15 1.2.B What criminal dispositions trigger deportability? Deportability is addressed at more length in Chapter 3. By way of a brief introduction, the deportability grounds include the following: Conviction of an aggravated felony This immigration law term-ofart is a constantly expanding category which now includes not only crimes such as murder and illicit drug or firearm trafficking, but any crime of violence, theft or burglary offense, or obstruction of justice offense for which an individual gets a prison sentence of one year or more, fraud or deceit offenses where the loss to the victim(s) exceeds $10,000, as well as an expanding list of other specific offenses. As a result of broad interpretations of the statutory language, the term may include even some state misdemeanors such as misdemeanor sexual abuse of a minor, misdemeanor drug possession if preceded by a prior drug conviction, or a misdemeanor larceny offense with a one year prison sentence even where the sentence is suspended. Conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude committed within five years of admission to the United States and punishable by a year in prison This immigration law term-of-art could include crimes in many different offense categories, e.g., crimes in which either an intent to steal or to defraud is an element (such as theft and forgery offenses); crimes in which bodily harm is caused or threatened by an intentional or willful act, or serious bodily harm is caused or threatened by an act of recklessness (such as murder, rape, and certain manslaughter and assault offenses); and most sex offenses. In some states, misdemeanors as well as felonies are punishable by a year so they could, if deemed to involve moral turpitude, make your client deportable if s/he committed the offense within five years after admission. Conviction of two crimes involving moral turpitude, whether felony or misdemeanor, committed at any time and regardless of actual or potential sentence. Conviction of any controlled substance offense (other than a single offense of simple possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana), whether felony or misdemeanor. Conviction of a firearm or destructive device offense, whether felony or misdemeanor. Conviction of a crime of domestic violence, stalking, child abuse, child neglect, or child abandonment, whether felony or misdemeanor, or a finding of a violation of an order of protection, whether issued by a civil or criminal court. 5

16 Disposition or record of criminal case that supports federal government charge that your client falls within one of various other crime-related deportability grounds that do not require conviction, including alien smuggling, drug abuse or addiction, document fraud, falsely claiming citizenship, criminal activity that endangers public safety or national security, and unlawful voting. 1.2.C What criminal dispositions trigger inadmissibility? Inadmissibility is addressed at more length in Chapter 3. By way of a brief introduction, the inadmissibility grounds include the following: Conviction or admitted commission of any controlled substance offense, whether felony or misdemeanor. Conviction or admitted commission of a crime involving moral turpitude, whether felony or misdemeanor (subject to a petty offense exception). Conviction of two or more offenses of any type with an aggregate sentence to imprisonment of at least five years. Disposition or record of criminal case that supports federal government charge that your client falls within one of various other crime-related inadmissibility grounds that do not require a conviction or admission, including government knowledge or reason to believe your client is a drug trafficker, a trafficker in persons or a money launderer, prostitution and commercialized vice, criminal activity that endangers public safety or national security, drug abuse or addiction, immigration fraud, falsely claiming citizenship, alien smuggling, document fraud, and unlawful voting. 1.2.D When do you need to be concerned that the criminal disposition may also be eliminating an available possibility of relief from deportability or inadmissibility? Even if your noncitizen client cannot avoid an outcome of his or her criminal case that triggers deportability or inadmissibility, your client may still be able at least to preserve the possibility of obtaining relief from removal. Thus, if deportability or inadmissibility cannot be avoided, you should investigate whether your client may be eligible for relief from removal under the immigration law and whether there may be a way to avoid a disposition of the criminal case that eliminates such a possibility. For a listing of the various forms of relief or waivers, and what criminal dispositions preclude grants of these forms of relief, see the Chapter 3 section corresponding to your client s particular immigration status or situation. Because this is a complicated area of the law, you may also 6

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