Child Abuse

The abuse or maltreatment of children is a serious offense, and it is often a groud of removal of non-citizens. An abuser can be a parent or any third party.

Under New York law, an "Abused Child" is a child less than 18 years of age whose parent or other person legally responsible for the child’s care:

  • inflicts or allows to be inflicted upon the child physical injury by other than accidental means which causes or creates a substantial risk of death, serious or protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of physical or emotional health or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ; or
  • creates or allows to be created a substantial risk of physical injury to the child by other than accidental means which would be likely to cause death, serious or protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of physical or emotional health or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ; or
  • commits or allows to be committed a sex offense against the child, as defined in the penal law; allows, permits, or encourages the child to engage in any act described in sections 230.25, 230.30 or 230.32 of the penal law.

Under INA 101(a)(43)(A), sexual abuse of a minor is an aggravated felony. A conviction for an offense classified as an aggravated felony would disqualify an alien from most immigration benefits or reliefs.

For purposes of the ground of removal set forth at section 237(a)(2)(E)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(E)(i) (2000), the term “crime of child abuse” means any offense involving an intentional, knowing, reckless, or criminally negligent act or omission that constitutes maltreatment of a person under 18 years old or that impairs such a person’s physical or mental well-being, including sexual abuse or exploitation.

Child abuse is almost invariably considered an aggravated felony, if the offense consist in sexual exploitation of a minor, regardless of the sentence imposed. Any offense involving lewd intent or conduct toward a person under the age of 18 will be charged as a deportable crime of child abuse.

CHILD ABUSE IN NEW JERSEY

According to New Jersey law, abuse of a child shall consist in any of the following acts:

  • Disposing of the custody of a child contrary to law;
  • Employing or permitting a child to be employed in any vocation or employment injurious to its health or dangerous to its life or limb, or contrary to the laws of this State;
  • Employing or permitting a child to be employed in any occupation, employment or vocation dangerous to the morals of such child;
  • Habitual use by the parent or by a person having the custody and control of a child, in the hearing of such child, of profane, indecent or obscene language;
  • Performing of any indecent, immoral or unlawful act or deed, in the presence of a child, that may tend to debauch or endanger or degrade the morals of the child;
  • Permitting or allowing any other person to perform any indecent, immoral or unlawful act in the presence of the child that may tend to debauch or endanger the morals of such child;
  • Using excessive physical restraint on the child under circumstances which do not indicate that the child's behavior is harmful to himself, others or property;
  • Willfully isolating the child from ordinary social contact under circumstances which indicate emotional or social deprivation.

In Restrepo v. U.S. Attorney Gen., 617 F.3d 787 (3d Cir. 2010) the Court held that an alien’s conviction for “aggravated sexual contact” under New Jersey Statute 2C:14-3(a) is categorically an Aggravated Felony for sexual abuse of a minor, as defined under 18 U.S.C. § 3509(a)(8), which provides that “the term ‘sexual abuse’ includes the employment, use, persuasion, inducement, enticement, or coercion of a child to engage in ... sexually explicit conduct [.]”

However, in Stubbs v. Attorney Gen., 452 F.3d 251 (3d Cir. 2006) the Court held that a conviction for endangering the welfare of children N.J.S.A. § 2C:24-4 is not sexual abuse of a minor under INA § 101(a)(43)(A), and therefore, the criminal alien did not commit an Aggravated Felony.

Speak to a criminal immigration lawyer if you have been charged with a child abuse offense.

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