There are two potential provisions of law that DHS (Department of Homeland Security) use to deport non – United States citizens for prostitution convictions. The first is by claiming that it is a “crime involving moral turpitude.” The second, which is much more severe, is that it is an “aggravated felony.” The Board of Immigration Appeals recently decided whether a Wisconsin prostitution statute serves as the basis of an aggravated felony.
When is a prostitution conviction a “crime involving moral turpitude?”
Unfortunately, there is no defined list that shows which state statutes are considered crimes involving moral turpitude. When a person is convicted of a crime, DHS can place that person in deportation proceedings and allege that the conviction is a crime involving moral turpitude. It would then be up to the immigration judge to decide whether the conviction is a crime involving moral turpitude. Moral turpitude has been explained to be conduct that is inherently dishonest, base, vile, or depraved and contrary to the accepted rules of morality and the duties owed between persons or to society in general. If either party doesn’t like the immigration judge’s decision, they can appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals and then to the Federal Circuit Court. Those appellate decisions give us specific guidance on a few specific statutes and general guidance on other statutes.