Client keeps LPR status despite two CIMT convictions!
October 20, 2023

Table of ContenTS

The Law Offices of Sabrina Li have achieved another remarkable victory, and we are excited to share the details with you.

Our client arrived in the U.S. over 20 years ago without a visa and faced a prolonged legal battle before the Immigration Court. In 2010, she was granted LPR (Legal Permanent Resident) status, a relief as she believed she wouldn't have to deal with immigration agencies anymore. However, a few years later, she was called back to the Immigration Court for removal proceedings.

After obtaining LPR status for just three years, she was found guilty of possessing tax-paid cigarettes with the intent of distributing them. As a result of her conviction, she was again subjected to removal proceedings. Being in the United States with her entire family, including her spouse, mother, and children, she was understandably anxious about losing her status and having to leave behind the life she had built. It was during this difficult time that she turned to our office for support.

Upon analyzing her convictions, we initially felt confident that the removal proceedings should be terminated. We believed we had a strong argument that our client’s convictions were not crimes involving moral turpitudes (CIMTs). We first contested the charge of removability, arguing that the client’s convictions weren't crimes involving moral turpitude (CIMTs) and, thus, shouldn't result in her removal from the United States. Despite our best efforts, the Immigration Judge (IJ) did not concur with our stance.

In light of the judge’s decision, which we viewed as erroneous, we promptly began exploring other potential relief applications for which our client might qualify. We initially considered LPR cancellation of removal.

To be eligible for cancellation of removal, a permanent resident must show that they:

  1. have been a permanent resident for at least five (5) years;
  2. have at least seven (7) years continuous residence in the United States after having been lawfully admitted in any status prior to service of the Notice to Appear, or prior to committing a criminal or related offense referred to in sections 212(a)(2) and 237(1)(2) of the INA, or prior to committing a security or related offense referred to in section 237(1)(4) of the INA; and
  3. have not been convicted of an aggravated felony.

However, complications arose since our client had been convicted less than five years after becoming a resident. Nonetheless, she might qualify for readjustment in immigration court with a 212(h) waiver for her convictions, provided an immediate relative filed an I-130 petition on her behalf.

There was another hurdle: the client's spouse had been an LPR for years but didn't speak English and would likely not pass the citizenship test. The client's U.S. citizen child wasn't yet 21, limiting immediate options. We explored several options, one of which was filing a prosecutorial discretion (PD) request that highlighted our client's long-standing U.S. residency and family ties. Prosecutorial discretion (PD) allows the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to determine how best to allocate its resources in terms of removing an individual through legal proceedings. This means that DHS may choose to cooperate with a motion to dismiss or temporarily halt the case. Unfortunately, our initial PD request was denied because our client had no pending relief application. Undeterred, we strategically requested continuances on behalf of our client for various legitimate reasons.

Our perseverance paid off when the client's son reached the age of 21. Immediately thereafter, we filed the I-130 with USCIS and swiftly followed with the adjustment application in immigration court, accompanied by a 212(h)waiver request.

A 212(h) waiver can be a useful tool for individuals who have a criminal record and are seeking to obtain or keep their green card. Even if someone is deportable due to prior convictions, they may still have the chance to secure a 212(h) waiver. To be eligible for this waiver, the applicant must prove that denying their admission would result in extreme hardship for their spouse, parent, son, or daughter who is either a U.S. citizen or Legal Permanent Resident. Additionally, their case must be subject to favorable discretion upon review by a USCIS officer or an Immigration Judge.

We explored all possible avenues to help our client, including submitting a second request for prosecutorial discretion (PD) to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). We implored that they join us in filing a motion to dismiss the ongoing removal proceedings against our client, without subjecting her to a lengthy trial process before the immigration judge. Our request for prosecutorial discretion was approved, and the unopposed motion to dismiss was granted by the Immigration Judge, which leaves our client's Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status intact and removes her case from the court system. Our client is overjoyed that she can retain her LPR status and continue to reside in the United States.

Our client's case is a reminder that no matter how difficult the situation may seem, with perseverance and the right support, anything is possible.

If you or someone you know faces a similar situation and requires the expertise of skilled professionals, look no further than the Law Offices of Sabrina Li. Call us today at (213) 375-8096 or email us at We are committed to providing the assistance you need, so please don't hesitate to reach out. We're here for you!

Need Assistance?

Request A Consultation Today

Contact Us

Holistic Approach

Our attorneys possess diverse immigration experience and have an in-depth understanding of the complex interplay between various immigration laws, policies, and regulations, ensuring accurate and comprehensive guidance. We offer a full range of immigration services, addressing all aspects of your case while identifying potential opportunities and challenges.

Personalized Attention

We provide a tailored approach to each client's case, ensuring that you receive individualized attention and a customized strategy for your unique situation. We adjust our strategy as your needs or circumstances change, guaranteeing a seamless transition between different phases of your immigration journey.

Passion and Commitment

Our team is composed of immigrant and first-generation American professionals, along with individuals from various cultural backgrounds. Many of us have firsthand knowledge of the challenges faced during the immigration process. This allows us to provide guidance and advocacy rooted in authentic understanding.