The Petty Offense Exception

Question: I committed a relatively small crime. Am I now not admissible to the U.S.?

Answer: It will depend on what exactly you committed. However, there is what is known as the petty offense exception.

Question: What is the petty offense exemption?

Answer: An alien (whether or not a minor) is not inadmissible if the CIMT is for a petty offense. A conviction (or admission) is considered a petty offense: “if the maximum penalty possible for the crime of which the alien was convicted … did not exceed imprisonment for one year and, if the alien was convicted of such crime, the alien was not sentenced to a term of imprisonment in excess of 6 months (regardless of the extent to which the sentence was ultimately executed).

Question: What if there is an undeterminate probationary period?

Answer: An undesignated probationary sentence, unlike an indeterminate sentence, is not considered a felony punishable by more than one year imprisonment, where the court has designated it a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of 6 months.

Question: What if the crime is a ‘wobbler’?

Answer: Cal. Penal Code §487.2 is a “wobbler” statute and where judge designates it as a misdemeanor, the BIA is bound by that determination for purposes of the petty offense exception. You need to look at each particular State.

Question: What if I had a drug conviction?

Answer: Department of State takes the position that the petty offense exception is not applicable to drug cases.

Question: What if I committed or admitted to more than 1 petty offense?

Answer: The petty offense exception is not applicable if more than one CIMT offense has been committed or admitted.

Question: What if I committed more than 1 crime, but only 1 is a CIMT?

Answer: Where there was a second CIMT, the “stop-time” rule applied because the petty offense exception only applies to the first CIMT. However, it remains effective where one of the 2 offenses was not for a CIMT. For example, an applicant who was convicted of a petty offense that was a CIMT and a second offense (battery) that was not a CIMT, he is not barred from cancellation, because he has not been convicted of an offense under §212(a)(2). It also remains effective for purposes of cancellation, where the second CIMT was not committed until after the residency requirement had accrued. The “stop-time” rule did not bar cancellation where first conviction was a petty offense and second conviction occurred after respondent accrued 7 years of continuous residence.

Question: What if I admit the facts of a particular crime?

Answer: If there was no conviction but the person admits facts, the petty offense exception applies and the alien is not inadmissible so long as the maximum sentence that could have been imposed does not exceed one year.

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Immigration Representation needed in Chicago

An article in the Chicago Reporter states that of the nearly 1,500 cases of women with children seen in the Chicago Immigration Court this past year, less than 14% were represented by a lawyer, a figure that is less than half the national rate.

USCIS Reminder: New Form G-28 Mandatory Starting May 18!

USCIS posted a reminder that beginning May 18, 2015, USCIS will accept only the new Form G-28 with an edition date of March 4, 2015, and will stop accepting the earlier version of the form. If a filing is submitted with an old version of the G-28 on or after May 18, USCIS will not accept the G-28 but will accept the application (if it meets the criteria) and send all notices and secure documents to the applicant.

AAO Sustains appeal of Form I-212

In a nonprecedent decision, the AAO sustained an appeal of a Form I-212, finding that although the applicant was removed in 2012 for being an intending immigrant, there is no indication she misrepresented her intentions or willfully violated the terms of a prior admission in 2011 as a B-2 visitor.

TPS for El Salvador coming up! Don’t delay

USCIS posted a reminder that Monday, March 9, 2015, is the deadline for current El Salvador Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries to re-register for the 18-month extension of TPS that runs from March 10, 2015, through September 9, 2016.

Congress stops playing games and passes a clean Bill to fund DHS

Last week, the Senate passed a DHS appropriations measure that did not include the House amendments that would block DAPA implementation and DACA expansion by a vote of 68-31. Today, in a surprising move, Speaker Boehner allowed for the Senate-passed version of the DHS funding bill to be voted on in the House. The bill passed with bipartisan support in the House, 257-167 (with 75 Republicans joining 182 Democrats), and will now be sent to President Obama’s desk for his signature. The bill will fund DHS through September 2015. The bill that passed does not include language that would prohibit the implementation of the President’s November 2014 executive actions on immigration.

The Preliminary Injunction of Expanded DACA by Texas Judge