Sasay v. Att’y Gen. United States

The Third Circuit held that aggravated identity theft is a crime involving moral turpitude (“CIMT”). Sasay is a citizen of Sierra Leone and was admitted to the United States as a lawful permanent resident. He was convicted in South Dakota of aiding and abetting aggravated identity theft. The Dept. of Homeland Security initiated removal proceedings. Sasay applied for several forms of relief. The Immigration Judge approved Sasay’s removal. The Board of Immigration Appeals and Third Circuit affirmed. On appeal, Sasasy argued that aggravated identity theft is not a CIMT because the crime only criminalizes possession of another person’s identity documents and does not require the use or the intent to use the documents. The Third Circuit applied the modified categorical approach and concluded that Sasay’s plea to aggravated identity theft had “as an element the commission of bank fraud, in violation of § 18 U.S.C. § 1344. And because bank fraud categorically qualifies as a CIMT, so too must Sasay’s aggravated identity theft conviction.”

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