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The Board of Immigration Appeals recently ruled that an Ohio domestic violence conviction is not a deportable crime.

Immigration law firm Hammond Law Group, LLC is advising Ohio residents that the board found a non-citizen who violated Ohio Revised Code 2919.25(a) could not be deported under the Immigration and Nationality Act.

An immigration judge may rule that a non-citizen convicted of a crime is subject to being deported or removed only if the crime categorically matches the federal deportation statute. The unpublished November 7, 2016 decision found that the state domestic violence statute pertains to “physical harm” but not “violent force” as required under Immigration and Nationality Act Section 237(a)(2)(E)(i).

The Board ruled that the state statute is broader than the federal statute and not a categorical match. The decision resembles a February 24, 2016 Board of Immigration Appeals finding that aggravated battery under the Puerto Rico Penal Code is not categorically a crime of violence because the Puerto Rico statute has no element of “violent force.”

Both decisions are consistent with Johnson v. United States, 559 U.S. 133 (2010), in which the Supreme Court held that “the phrase ‘physical force’ means violent force – that is, force capable of causing physical pain or injury to another person.”

The rulings show how the legal landscape is always changing and sometimes how slow it is to change. Advocates including immigration lawyers must stay on top of new decisions that may impact their clients’ cases.

An appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals comes after an immigration judge orders a foreign national to be deported or removed. The appeal argues that the immigration judge made an error on the case and the filing of the appeal stays the order of deportation or removal. If the Board agrees, the Board sends the case back to the immigration judge to fix the mistake. Immigration and Customs Enforcement cannot remove the person while an appeal with the Board remains pending.

Hammond Law Group’s deportation and removal appeals attorneys routinely represent clients before the Board of Immigration Appeals. The primary focus of the law firm’s practice is immigration law and the firm remains dedicated to protecting the rights of people and ensuring that U.S.-based businesses can acquire the foreign workers they need.

Cleveland immigration attorney Philip Eichorn, who leads the appellate practice group, is an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and past chair of the Ohio chapter. He is also the professor of immigration law at Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.

It’s never certain which way the legal landscape will change. Non-citizens facing criminal charges are urged to take control of their case now before it impacts their immigration status.

For more information about Hammond Law Group, LLC, or to seek a consultation, visit or call 216-970-7102.

Philip Eichorn
Address: The Caxton Building, 812 Huron Road, Suite 290, Cleveland, Ohio 44115
Phone: 216-970-7102