Conviction Definition

Immigration Definition of “Conviction” and “Sentence”

For most of the modern immigration era, federal immigration law deferred to states to decide whether a conviction or sentence exists. After 1996, the BIA issued a series of precedential opinions that remain in force today, holding that certain categories of prior convictions eliminated by the states remain convictions under the immigration laws. These decisions interpret the INA’s statutory definition of “conviction” and “sentence.” See INA 101(a)(48)(A)-(B), 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(48)(A)-(B). IDP litigates to push back against these wrong and damaging legal decisions, through amicus briefing and technical assistance in the circuit courts and before the BIA and immigration courts and agencies. Our litigation focuses on challenging existing standards like Matter of Pickering, Matter of Roldan, and Matter of Thomas & Thompson.

For support for a case involving the conviction or sentence definitions, please contact IDP’s litigation team at [email protected], Andrew Wachtenheim at [email protected], or Nabilah Siddiquee at [email protected]

Cases Regarding Immigration Recognition of State Post-Conviction Relief

In re. C- (BIA 2022, pending, BIA Amicus Invitation No. 22-16-03)

Amicus Brief of IDP and Harvard Crimmigration Clinic – “conviction” definition, 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(48)(A), statutory construction, motion to reopen, vacatur, post-conviction relief

Cross v. Garland (2d Cir. 2022, pending)

Amicus Brief of IDP and NILA – equitable tolling, motion to reopen, vacatur, post-conviction relief, narcotic overbreadth

Siriboe v. Garland (2d Cir. 2022)

Amicus Brief of IDP and Harvard Crimmigration ClinicPickering, Thomas & Thompson, “conviction” definition, 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(48)(A), statutory construction
Amicus Brief of Cardozo Immigrant Justice Clinic and State Appellate DefendersRodriguez-Ruiz, arbitrary and capricious

In re. R-T- (BIA 2021)

Amicus Brief of IDP and Harvard Crimmigration ClinicPickering, Thomas & Thompson, “conviction” definition, 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(48)(A), statutory construction

Cases Challenging Matter of Thomas and Thompson (State Changes to Sentencing)

Pacheco Vega v. Att’y Gen. (3d Cir., pending)

Amicus Brief of IDP and Harvard Crimmigration Clinic (amicus co-counsel Philip Torrey and Tiffany Lieu, Harvard Crimmigration Clinic)  – Thomas & Thompson, “sentence” definition, 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(48)(B), rules of statutory construction

Zaragoza v. Garland (7th Cir., pending)

Amicus Brief of AILA, IDP, et al. (amicus counsel Nadia Anguiano-Wehde, University of Minnesota Law School)  – Thomas & Thompson, “sentence” definition, 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(48)(B), statutory construction

Cases Challenging Matter of Velasquez-Rios (State Legislative Changes to Sentencing)

Peguero Vasquez v. Garland (2d Cir., pending)

Amicus Brief of IDPVelasquez-Rios, CIMT, “conviction” definition, “sentence” definition, 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(48)(A), 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(48)(B), statutory construction, preemption
Amicus Brief of Cardozo Law School Immigration Justice Clinic and New York Defender OrganizationsVelasquez-Rios, CIMT, McNeill, Armed Career Criminal Act

Velasquez-Rios v. Barr & Desai v. Barr (9th Cir. 2020)

Amicus Brief in Support of Petition for RehearingVelasquez-Rios, CIMT, “conviction” definition, “sentence” definition, 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(48)(A), 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(48)(B), statutory construction

Cases and Resources Regarding Immigration “Finality” Rule

Resources on Post-Conviction Relief