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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Carlos A. Fuentes-Cruz, a native and citizen of El Salvador, has resided in the United States since January 1990 when he entered without inspection. He is married and has three children, all of whom are U.S. citizens. In April 2004 Fuentes-Cruz was arrested for unlawful transport of individuals under Texas Penal Code �20.05, and in August 2004 he pleaded guilty to the charge. Thereafter, the U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency initiated removal proceedings against Fuentes-Cruz. At his removal hearing, he conceded that he is removable for not having been admitted or paroled in the United States but requested cancellation of removal under the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA). The immigraton judge (IJ) found that Fuentes-Cruz was eligible for consideration of the special-rule cancellation of removal but denied cancellation as a matter of law, because unlawful transport was a crime involving moral turpitude. The Board of Immigration Appeals affirmed the ruling of the IJ. On appeal, Fuentes-Cruz argued that unlawful transport was not a crime involving moral turpitude, because it lacks the requisite mental state requirement. HOLDING:The court dismissed Fuentes-Cruz’s petition for review. The court applied its two-part standard of review to the BIA’s conclusion that Fuentes-Cruz committed a crime involving moral turpitude. First, it accorded substantial deference to the BIA’s definition of the term “moral turpitude.” Second, it reviewed de novo whether the elements of �20.05 fit the BIA’s definition of a crime involving moral turpitude. Under the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. �1227(a)(2)(A)(i)(I), any alien who is convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude is deportable, the court stated. Moral turpitude, the court stated, refers generally to conduct that shocks the public conscience as being inherently base, vile or depraved, and contrary to the appreciated rules of morality and the duties owed between persons or to society in general. Among the tests to determine if a crime involves moral turpitude is whether the act is accompanied by a vicious motive or a corrupt mind. Fuentes-Cruz asserted that absent a mental state such as evil intent, fraudulent intent, vicious motive or corrupt mind his offense under �20.05 could not be classified as a crime involving moral turpitude. But the court found that the mental state requirement was met in �20.05 of the Texas Penal Code. Section 20.05 states that a person commits an unlawful transport if for pecuniary benefit he transports an individual in a manner that: 1. is designed to conceal the individual from local, state or federal law enforcement authorities; and 2. creates a substantial likelihood that an individual will suffer serious bodily injury or death. The court noted its prior holdings that crimes including an element of intentional deception are crimes involving moral turpitude. As �20.05 requires proof of intent to conceal from law enforcement authorities, the court found that the offense of unlawful transport was a crime involving moral turpitude. Thus, because the BIA correctly concluded that Fuentes-Cruz was convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, the court lacked jurisdiction to review its removal order. OPINION:Per curiam.

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