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Matter of Saiful Islam

In Matter of Islam, the Board adhered to its previous decision in Matter of Adetiba, 20 I&N Dec. 506 (BIA 1992), interpreting the ground of deportability for conviction of two or more crimes of moral turpitude not arising out of a single scheme of criminal misconduct.

The Board held that the respondent's convictions in two counties of forgery and possession of stolen property based on his use of multiple stolen credit or debit cards at several retail outlets on five separate occasions over the course of a day did not arise out of a “single scheme of criminal misconduct.” Although all of the crimes occurred on a single day and all followed a similar modus oparandi, this was not enough under Adetiba's rule.

Under Adetiba, Board held that a single scheme "refers to acts, which although separate crimes in and of themselves, were performed in furtherance of a single criminal episode, such as where one crime constitutes a lesser offense of another or where two crimes flow from and are the natural consequence of a single act of criminal misconduct. The related question is whether there is enough time after each crime for the person to reflect on it and disassociate from the criminal activity.

In deciding to follow Adetiba, the Board declined to apply the more expansive interpretation of the Second Circuit even within that circuit, citing its authority to interpret ambiguous statutory phrases despite previous federal court authority to the contrary. See Nat’l Cable & Telecomms. Ass’n v. Brand X Internet Servs., 545 U.S. 967 (2005).

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