Conspiracy and immigration law

Conspiracy is an agreement between two or more persons to commit a future crime. Although conspiracy generally involved an unlawful act, it is possible to conspire to a lawful act that becomes unlawful if carried out by more individuals.

Unlike accomplices to a crime, conspirators can be guilty even if the plan is not completed or the actors are not aware of each other’s participation. However, an agreement by two persons to commit a particular crime cannot be prosecuted as a conspiracy when the crime is of such a nature as to necessarily require the participation of two persons for its commission. This is also known as Wharton’s Rule.

Conspiracy is a common law offense, and a crime under many U.S. jurisdictions. Most U.S. jurisdictions also require an overt act in furtherance of the agreement. An overt act is a statutory requirement, not a constitutional one. The illegal act is the conspiracy's "target offense."

Section 212(a)(2)(A) of the INA states that any alien convicted of, or who admits having committed, or who admits committing acts which constitute the essential elements of a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT) or an attempt or conspiracy to commit such a crime, is inadmissible to the U.S. CIMT are grouped into three main categories:

  • Crimes against property (blackmail, arson, robbery, burglary, receipt of stolen property);
  • Crimes committed against governmental authority (tax evasion , corruption, fraud against the government);
  • Crimes committed against individuals, family and sexual morality (statutory rape, murder, second or third degree assault, disorderly conduct, child abuse or pornography).

Conspiracy to commit a crime involving moral turpitude can make a non-citizen inadmissible and or deportable.

Under the INA, a conviction for a crime within this list can make a person ineligible to enter the United States and to obtain a visa. If the person is already present in the United States, a Green Card can be denied.

In addition, conspiracy, attempt, or acting as an accessory to a CIMT, are themselves considered CIMT, and are punished and penalized as such

Section 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) lists the classes of aliens who may apply for waivers of ineligibility. Before an applicant can obtain a waiver for an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa, the reviewing consular officer, must recommend a waiver to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which has ultimate authority to grant or deny the waiver. If the waiver application is filed by someone already in the United States, the decision will be made by a USCIS immigration officer.

Conspiracy can carry severe immigration consequences like any other complete crime of moral turpitude or aggravated felony. If you have been charged with conspiracy, speak to a criminal immigration lawyer as soon as possible.

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