Salvador Cisneros came to the United States to realize the American dream, and part of his dream might have ranged from fondling breasts in public to joining the mile high club. Having been discovered in the United States without permission to be here, he applied for a “cancellation of removal” under the Immigration and Nationality Act. Due to his record of being convicted of public lewdness under 21.07 of the Texas Penal Code in 2006, the immigration judge denied his petition categorically, stating that public lewdness was per se a crime involving moral turpitude,and therefore makes one subject to deportation.
Texas Penal Code 21.07 states: (a) A person commits an offense if he knowingly engages in any of the following acts in a public place or, if not in a public place, he is reckless about whether another is present who will be offended or alarmed by his: (1) act of sexual intercourse; (2) act of deviate sexual intercourse; (3) act of sexual contact; or (4) act involving contact between the person’s mouth or genitals and the anus or genitals of an animal or fowl. (b) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.
Thus, the immigration judge states it was a crime of moral turpitude to be convicted in any manner under this section. However, the Fifth Circuit reversed this decision by noting that the Board of Immigration Appeals’s definition of a crime of moral turpitude is conduct that “is inherently vile, base or depraved” as well as contrary to societal standards.