Sijapati first entered and was admitted to the United States on a nonimmigrant L-2 visa on January 25, 2001. On December 31, 2002, Sijapati departed the United States for a two-and-a-half week vacation to Nepal, reentering the United States on January 18, 2003, pursuant to his existing L-2 visa. On March 16, 2005, federal immigration officials approved Sijapati’s application for adjustment of status as a lawful permanent resident. On December 12, 2007—more than five years after Sijapati was first admitted into the United States on January 25, 2001, under the L-2 visa, but less than five years after his most recent admission on January 18, 2003, under that visa—a circuit court in Virginia convicted Sijapati of felony embezzlement and imposed an eighteen-month suspended sentence. Following his conviction, the Department of Homeland Security issued to Sijapati a Notice to Appear before the immigration court to face the charge of removability from the United States under Section 237(a)(2)(A)(i) of the INA for having been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude within five years of the date of admission.
Sijapati argued that the plain language of the statute unambiguously establishes that Congress intended "the date of admission" to correspond to the entry marking the commencement of an alien’s current or most recent period of admission. The Fourth Circuit disagreed, deferring to the Board of Immigration Appeals' (Board) decision in Matter of Alyazji, in which the Board held that "the most natural reading of section 237(a)(2)(A)(i) is that the phrase ‘the date of admission’ refers to the date of 10 admission by virtue of which the alien was present in the United States when he committed his crime." As such, the relevant date of admission for Sijapati was January 18, 2003 entry on the L-2 visa; by virtue of this admission, he was present in the United States when he committed the embezzlement offense.
The full text o Sijapati v. Boente can be found here: