Failure to Register NOT a Crime of Moral Turpitude

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has held in a published opinion, overturning a Board of Immigration Appeals decision, that failure Register as a Sex Offender is NOT a Crime of Moral Turpitude (CMT) for purposes of immigration removal or deportation proceedings.  This opinion, available at, concerns conviction under the Virginia Criminal Code which mandates registration of persons convicted of sexual offenses, and in this case, was used to attempt to deport an individual for failing to register for one conviction of a sexual offense.  Although the appellant acknowledged that he had committed 1 crime of moral turpitude, the underlying sexual offense, he argued that the registration requirement was not a 2nd, which the government asserted it was, permitting his removal.

 The Court held that this crime as not malum in se but rather a statutory requirement created by the Virginia legislature.  The holding is contrary to  a prior BIA ruling on a California registration statute.