EFFECT OF CHILD ABUSE CHARGE EVEN IF NO PHYSICAL INJURY
In a recent Colorado case Dency Epen SORAM, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) determined that the crime of unreasonably placing a child in a situation that poses a threat of injury to the child’s life or health in violation of the statute is categorically a crime of child abuse, even though no proof of actual harm or injury to the child is required.
The 9th Circuit had previously held under Velasquez-Herrera that the child must actually be injured for the crime to constitute child abuse. The California endangerment statute was not categorically one for child abuse. About half the States currently include endangerment-type offenses in their definition of “child abuse”. Other States use various terms to describe the level of threat required. Thus a State-by-State analysis is appropriate to determine if the risk of harm required by the endangerment-type language is sufficient to bring the offense within the definition of “child abuse” under the immigration Act.
Any state where an act or omission that constitutes maltreatment of a child falls will be broad enough to encompass endangerment-type crimes. This means that if you have been charged with any child abuse then it is critical to see an immigration attorney to determine whether this state-charged offense falls within the definition of child abuse under the Act.