Should Aliens who Seriously Injure their Victims Stay?

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December 8, 2021

IRLI shows why Michigan’s crime of aggravated assault involves moral turpitude

WASHINGTON—Today, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the Board of Immigration Appeals, the nation’s immigration appellate court, on the legal issue of whether an alien who has been convicted of aggravated assault in Michigan has committed a “crime involving moral turpitude” under federal immigration law, and thus should be deported.

To be convicted of aggravated assault in Michigan, one must intentionally assault another person (by, at the minimum, making that person fear immediate physical attack), and also cause serious bodily injury to that person. IRLI points out in its brief that this requirement of actual serious injury makes the crime one involving moral turpitude; as one court cited by IRLI noted, serious injury to the victim shows that the attacker used a high level of force. IRLI also shows that the crime of aggravated assault in Michigan historically has been charged against perpetrators who engage in depraved, highly violent conduct, and never in the hypothetical situation of a perpetrator who assaults his victim intentionally, and in so doing somehow causes the victim serious injury inadvertently.

“Violent criminals are certainly not who we want among our legal immigrants,” noted Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “Public safety, and the moral character of lawful permanent resident aliens, is crucial both to the nation and to those aliens themselves, who are eligible to adjust to American citizenship. Accordingly, Congress provided that legal aliens who commit crimes involving moral turpitude should be deported. As we hope the Board sees, this law should be interpreted straightforwardly, not riddled with loopholes that further endanger Americans.”

The case is Amicus Invitation No. 21-17-11 (BIA).

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