Grounds for Deportation narrowed by BIA

The Board of Immigration Appeals narrowed the list of immigrants that can be deported in their decision, Matter of Alyazji, 25 I&N Dec. 397 (BIA 2011). The law states that an alien can be deported if he or she commits a crime involving moral turpitude less than 5 years after being “admitted’ into the United States. The question that lingers is what is the relevant date of admission? The entry date of the alien into the United States? What if the alien becomes a lawful permanent resident? Does that restart the relevant date of admission? Well, the Board answered this last question in the negative. How does this affect a non U.S. citizen?

Consider this example. John is a citizen of Germany. He entered the United States in 1995 on a nonimmigrant visa. In 2005, he became a lawful permanent resident. In 2007, he committed a crime involving moral turpitude (for example, theft or fraud). Prior to Alyazji, the BIA’s former relevant decision suggested that when John adjusted his status to become a lawful permanent resident, he started his “admission” all over again, and therefore any crime of moral turpitude for the next 5 years (until 2010) would make him deportable. Under Alyazji, John would not be deportable because he committed the crime of moral turpitude more than 5 years from his “admission” (1995), and John’s adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident no longer affects that admission date, under Alyazji.

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