In the best of times, immigrants should only be deported according to the rule of law and not by the whim of executive branch officials. Now, it is imperative. Yet the statute authorizing removal of immigrants for “crimes involving moral turpitude” invites officials to base their prosecutorial choices on political or personal views. As a result, defense attorneys advising their clients on the immigration consequences of pleas have no basis for prediction. Although the Supreme Court long ago rejected the argument that the “moral turpitude” clause was void for vagueness, one of the Court’s most recent decisions now makes that conclusion unsupportable. The notion that due process permits officials to banish legal permanent residents based on “moral turpitude,” which never comported with common sense, is now legally incorrect.
Lindsay M. Kornegay & Evan Tsen Lee,
Why Deporting Immigrants for “Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude” is Now Unconstitutional,
13 Duke Journal of Constitutional Law & Public Policy
Available at: https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/djclpp/vol13/iss1/3