Criminal convictions often determine whether a noncitizen can be deported from the United States or whether he or she can qualify to apply to stay. In the summer of 2016 through a Supreme Court decision in Mathis v. United States and a Board of Immigration Appeals decision in Matter of Chairez, the courts ruled that for a criminal conviction to trigger a negative immigration consequence, only conduct laid out in the statute that the jury must unanimously agree upon can be considered. Underlying facts do not matter.
This month, the Board of Immigration Appeals granted a Joseph & Hall P.C. motion to reopen a case where our client had been ruled ineligible for cancellation of removal and ordered removed from the United States because of a Colorado Third Degree Assault conviction. We successfully argued that even though courts held in the past that Colorado’s Third Degree assault could be a crime involving moral turpitude, after Mathis it could not.
Our client now no longer has a final order of removal and will get to present his case to an immigration judge in new hearings. Any person who had a negative immigration ruling based on a criminal offense should at least check to see if the outcome would be different in a post-Mathis world. If so, there may be a way to reopen the case.
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