Submitted: May 15, 2019
Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration
COLLOTON, MELLOY, and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges.
Shepherd, Circuit Judge.
Adame-Hernandez, a native and citizen of Mexico, petitions
for review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals
(BIA) upholding the decision of an immigration judge (IJ)
concluding that Adame-Hernandez was ineligible for
cancellation of removal because of a prior conviction for a
crime involving moral turpitude and because Adame-Hernandez
lacked the requisite moral character. Having jurisdiction
under 8 U.S.C. § 1252, we deny the petition.
1994, Adame-Hernandez entered the United States near El Paso,
Texas without being admitted or paroled and without
inspection. In June 2009, he pled guilty in Nebraska state
court to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and
false reporting. The next month, Adame-Hernandez pled guilty,
again in Nebraska state court, to two more charges of driving
under the influence of drugs or alcohol and false reporting.
Adame-Hernandez was subsequently served with a Notice to
Appear, charging him with removability. Through counsel,
Adame-Hernandez admitted the factual allegations in the
Notice to Appear, conceded removability, and designated
Mexico as the country of removal.
then filed an application for cancellation of removal, which
the IJ denied. The IJ concluded that, based on his
convictions for false reporting, Adame-Hernandez was
statutorily ineligible for cancellation of removal, pursuant
to 8 U.S.C. § 1229b. The IJ examined the statute of
conviction, Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-907, and determined
that at least one of Adame-Hernandez's convictions was
under subsection (1)(a), which included an explicit element
of intent to deceive, rendering the crime categorically one
involving moral turpitude. Based on this conclusion, the IJ
determined that Adame-Hernandez was ineligible for
cancellation of removal because his conviction both barred a
finding of good moral character and was a statutorily
specified offense that barred cancellation. Adame-Hernandez
appealed to the BIA. The BIA affirmed the IJ, similarly
concluding that his false reporting convictions were
categorically crimes involving moral turpitude and rendered
him statutorily ineligible for cancellation of removal. This
petition for review followed, with Adame-Hernandez again
arguing that his convictions for false reporting under
Nebraska law do not qualify as crimes involving moral
we lack jurisdiction to review the ultimately discretionary
denial of cancellation of removal, 8 U.S.C. §
1252(a)(2)(B), we are not precluded from considering
constitutional claims or questions of law raised upon a
petition for review, § 1252(a)(2)(D)."
Miranda-Romero v. Lynch, 797 F.3d 524, 525 (8th Cir.
2015) (internal quotation marks omitted). We conduct de novo
review of constitutional claims or questions of law,
"according substantial deference to the agency's
interpretation of immigration statutes and regulations."
Id. (internal quotation marks omitted).
Immigration and Nationality Act provides that an alien who is
convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude is ineligible
for cancellation of removal, where the offense is punishable
by a sentence of one year or longer. Id. (citing 8
U.S.C. §§ 1229b, 1227(a)(2)(A)(i)). But the INA
does not define "crime involving moral turpitude";
"the meaning of the phrase was left to future
administrative and judicial interpretation."
Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). Courts have
since defined crimes involving moral turpitude as
"requir[ing] conduct that is inherently base, vile, or
depraved, and contrary to accepted rules of morality and the
duties owed between persons or to society in general."
Guardado-Garcia v. Holder, 615 F.3d 900, 902 (8th
Cir. 2010) (internal quotation marks omitted). Further,
"[c]rimes involving the intent to deceive or defraud are
generally considered to involve moral turpitude."
Id. (internal quotation marks omitted).
determining whether a specific conviction is one for a crime
involving moral turpitude, we first consider whether the
"statute [of conviction] defines a crime in which moral
turpitude necessarily inheres[.]" Chanmouny v.
Ashcroft, 376 F.3d 810, 812-13 (8th Cir. 2004) (internal
quotation marks omitted). If so, "the conviction is for
a crime involving moral turpitude for immigration purposes,
and our analysis ends." Id. at 812. But where
"the statute contains some offenses which involve moral
turpitude and others which do not, it is to be treated as a
'divisible' statute, and we look to the record of
conviction, meaning the indictment, plea, verdict, and
sentence, to determine the offense of which the respondent
was convicted." Id.
has two convictions for violating Neb. Rev. Stat. §
28-907. Because Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-907 has various
subsections, some of which do not necessarily involve moral
turpitude, we rely on the records of conviction to determine
under which specific subsection Adame-Hernandez was charged.
The record reveals that one of Adame-Hernandez's false
reporting convictions undisputedly falls under Neb. Rev.
Stat. § 28-907(1)(a), which provides:
[a] person commits the offense of false reporting if he or
she . . . [f]urnishes material information he or she knows to
be false to any peace officer or other official with the
intent to instigate an investigation of an alleged criminal
matter or to impede the investigation of an actual criminal
person who violates this subsection faces a maximum of
"not more than one year imprisonment." Neb. Rev.
Stat. § 28-106(1); Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-907(2)(a).
The Nebraska Supreme Court has interpreted false reporting
under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-907(1)(a) to include three
elements: (1) "a false statement to a peace officer;
[(2)] . . . given with the intent to impede an investigation;
and [(3)] the investigation must be of an actual criminal
matter." State v. Ewing, 378 N.W.2d 158, 162
(Neb. 1985). Under the Nebraska Supreme Court's own
explanation, a conviction under this subsection requires that
the defendant act with some intent to deceive a peace
officer. A conviction under Neb. Rev. Stat. §
28-907(1)(a) is thus a crime involving moral turpitude that
renders a petitioner statutorily ineligible for cancellation
of removal. See Guardado-Garcia, 615 F.3d at 902.
argues that our decision in Bobadilla v. Holder 679
F.3d 1052 (8th Cir. 2014), is dispositive. There, the Court
remanded to the BIA for further determination of whether an
alien's conviction under a Minnesota statute for giving a
false name to a police officer was a crime involving moral
turpitude. Id. at 1057-58. Bobadilla
expressly limited its discussion to the "intent to
obstruct justice" required under the Minnesota statute,
concluding that the "broad, undefined term" could
not create an offense that categorically qualified as a crime
involving moral turpitude. Id. at 1058.
Nebraska's false-reporting statute involves a narrower
scienter requirement: the intent to impede an actual criminal
investigation. This alleviates any concern that
Adame-Hernandez's conviction could have been for a crime
that did not involve moral turpitude, or that "every
person who intentionally makes a government official's
task more difficult is guilty of 'inherently base, vile,
or depraved' conduct." See id. Although the
Bobadilla panel, in dicta, pondered how giving a
false name fit within the broader definition of
"obstruction of justice," that discussion does not
alter our conclusion that, based on the Nebraska Supreme
Court's recitation of the elements of §
28-907(1)(a), the offense requires an intent to deceive. And
"Bobadilla does not alter the principle that
"[c]rimes involving the intent to deceive . . . are