Pedro Jimenez-Cedillo v. Jefferson Sessions III

PUBLISHED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT No. 17-1477 PEDRO JOSUE JIMENEZ-CEDILLO, Petitioner, v. JEFFERSON B. SESSIONS III, Attorney General, Respondent. No. 17-1893 PEDRO JOSUE JIMENEZ-CEDILLO, Petitioner, v. JEFFERSON B. SESSIONS III, Attorney General, Respondent. On Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals. Argued: January 23, 2018 Decided: March 20, 2018 Before THACKER and HARRIS, Circuit Judges, and SHEDD, Senior Circuit Judge. Petition for review granted and remanded for further proceedings by published opinion. Judge Harris wrote the opinion, in which Judge Thacker and Judge Shedd joined. ARGUED: Benjamin Winograd, IMMIGRANT & REFUGEE APPELLATE CENTER, LLC, Alexandria, Virginia, for Petitioner. Karen L. Melnik, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C., for Respondent. ON BRIEF: Helen L. Parsonage, ELLIOT MORGAN PARSONAGE PLLC, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, for Petitioner. Chad A. Readler, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Civil Division, Briena L. Strippoli, Senior Litigation Counsel, Office of Immigration Litigation, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C., for Respondent. 2 PAMELA HARRIS, Circuit Judge: Pedro Josue Jimenez-Cedillo, a native and citizen of Mexico, was ordered removed from the United States after the Board of Immigration Appeals determined that sexual solicitation of a minor in Maryland, to which Jimenez-Cedillo pled guilty, is a crime involving moral turpitude. Under Maryland law, sexual solicitation of a minor does not require that the perpetrator know the victim’s age. And before this case, under Board of Immigration Appeals precedent, a sexual offense against a child categorically involved moral turpitude only if the perpetrator knew or should have known that the victim was a minor. Because the Board failed to explain its change in position, we grant Jimenez-Cedillo’s petition for review and remand for further proceedings. I. A. Because our decision turns on the development of Board of Immigration Appeals precedent, we begin by laying out in some detail the statutory and regulatory framework that governs this case. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”), an alien convicted of a “crime involving moral turpitude” generally is inadmissible, 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(2)(A)(i)(I); removable, id. § 1227(a)(2)(A)(i)–(ii); and ineligible for cancellation of removal and adjustment of status, id. § 1229b(b)(1)(C). In limiting these consequences to convictions for crimes “involving moral turpitude,” Congress intended to single out offenders who do more than “simply the wrong inherent in violating [a] 3 statute.” Mohamed v. Holder, 769 F.3d 885, 888 (4th Cir. 2014). To qualify as a crime involving moral turpitude, an offense “must involve conduct that not only violates a statute but also independently violates a moral norm.” Id. Thus, a crime involving moral turpitude contains “two essential elements: a culpable mental state and reprehensible conduct.” Sotnikau v. Lynch, 846 F.3d 731, 736 (4th Cir. 2017) (quoting Matter of Ortega-Lopez, 26 I. & N. Dec. 99, 100 (B.I.A. 2013)). The Board of Immigration Appeals (“Board”) has long held that a crime involves moral turpitude only if it requires a culpable mental state. But it has been less clear exactly how that rule applies to sexual offenses against ...

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