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CA11 CIMT Remand: Hernandez Zarate v. Garland

February 19, 2022 (1 min read)

Hernandez Zarate v. Garland

"The question presented in this appeal—one which has led to a circuit split—is whether a conviction for falsely representing a social security number, see 42 U.S.C. § 408(a)(7)(B), is a CIMT. ... The BIA explained that § 408(a)(7)(B) requires intent to deceive, and as a result Mr. Zarate’s conviction was for a CIMT. Noting that the circuits were divided on the issue, it quoted our decision in Walker v. U.S. Att’y Gen., 783 F.3d 1226, 1229 (11th Cir. 2015), for the proposition that, “[g]enerally, a crime involving dishonesty or false statement is considered to be one involving moral turpitude.” The BIA did not, however, address whether a violation of § 407(a)(7)(B) is inherently base, vile, or depraved. And that, as we will later explain, is a significant omission. ... Our holding today does not foreclose the possibility that a conviction for a violation of § 408(a)(7)(B) may be a CIMT. But if the BIA is going to hold that it is, it will need to do what it has so far failed to do in Mr. Zarate’s case—it will have to apply its two-pronged moral turpitude standard in toto and decide whether the statute, under the categorical approach, involves conduct that is “reprehensible,” i.e., conduct that is “inherently base, vile, or depraved, and contrary to the accepted rules of morality and the duties owed between persons or to society in general.” Silva-Trevino, 26 I. & N. Dec. at 833–34 (internal quotation marks omitted). See also Simon-Kerr, Moral Turpitude, 2012 Utah L. Rev. at 1007–08 (criticizing courts for “ignor[ing] community moral sentiments when applying the [moral turpitude] standard”). We remand to the BIA for that purpose."

[Hats way off to Arnedo Silvano Valera!]