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The effect a criminal conviction may have on one's eligibility for immigration benefits
corresponds to the type of conviction, when the conviction occurred and the
sentence imposed.   Under the Immigration and Nationality Act a crime will generally
be classified as one involving moral turpitude, an aggravated felony or one of the
many enumerated classes of crimes that may lead to deportation or inadmissibility.  

Crimes involving moral turpitude:

This category of crime is not defined in the Immigration and Nationality Act, but has
been defined by case law and are made on a case by case basis.  The Board of
Immigration Appeals has held that moral turpitude refers generally t conduct that is
inherently base, vile or depraved, and contrary to the accepted rules of morality and
the duties owed between person, or to society in general.  Those crimes that
generally fall into this category include: Theft Crime, Fraud Crimes and certain
Crimes of Violence.  Please note that this list is not exhaustive and is general in

Aggravated Felonies:

An aggravated felony is a term coined by the Immigration and Nationality Act and
may include in the definition those crimes categorized as misdemeanors.  A
conviction of crime categorized as an aggravated felony results in severe
immigration consequences and expedited removal from the United States.  The
following is a list of common aggravated felonies:
Murder, rape, or sexual abuse of a minor, illicit trafficking in a controlled substance,
illicit trafficking in firearms, certain money laundering offenses, crimes of violence,
theft, burglary, or possession of stolen property where the term of imprisonment
imposed is at least one year, kidnapping, child porography, alien smuggling,
re-entry after deportation for an aggravated felony, crime of fraud where loss
exceeds $10,000.  (Please note, this list is not exhaustive.  For the complete
statutory language please refer to INA Section 101(a)(43).  


Waivers of certain convictions are available for those individuals who qualify.  
Generally, hardship on United States Citizen or Lawful Perament Resident parents,
spouses or children would have to be established.
Isais & Pfeiffer, LLP
An Immigration and Naturalization Law Firm
Criminal Waivers
"Dedicated to the
practice of immigration
law and the clients they