The Fourth Circuit determined that a Maryland conviction for causing abuse to a child is not categorically a sexual abuse of a minor aggravated felony.  The court noted that Board of Immigration Appeals (Board) has yet to issue a published decision providing a generic definition of sexual abuse of a minor; the Board's previous precedential decision merely hinted at what the definition of sexual abuse of a minor might encompass, without providing a concrete generic definition for the federal courts to employ.

The court noted that the least culpable conduct criminalized under the statute includes the failure to act to prevent sexual abuse of a child when one has a duty to do so.  In light of the lack of a clear generic definition articulated by the Board, the court remained unconvinced that a mere failure to prevent harm comes within the ambit of sexual abuse of a minor.

Though this a promising decision, it is subject to being reviewed when the Board issues a precedential decision that the Fourth Circuit believes provides a concrete definition of sexual abuse of a minor.

The full text of Amos v. Lynch can be found here: