In what appears to be a case of first impression, a Brooklyn, New York resident previously convicted of trafficking human kidneys for patients, who were languishing on lengthy kidney transplant lists, was released from federal custody without being placed into deportation proceedings. Back in 2011, Levy Izhak Rosenbaum became the first man in the United States convicted of violating a 1984 law which banned the sale of human organs. After finishing the 2 ½ year sentence he received after pleading guilty to the offense, he still faced the possibility that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) could deport him back to his native country of Israel. Under federal immigration law a noncitizen can be deported if convicted of a series of crimes including “crimes of moral turpitude. But what exactly constitutes a “crime of moral turpitude?
While various appellate courts have weighed in on whether other offenses fall within that category, no court had ever held this organ trafficking law was such a crime. Edward Shulman of the Shulman Law Group successfully advanced the argument that this offense is not a crime of moral turpitude. “It was a victimless crime because the recipient received a kidney and the donor was remunerated for his contribution. There was no evil or malevolent intent on the part of the organ broker, the donors willingly agreed to donate, understood their involvement, felt an altruistic experience of helping to save a life, and experienced no adverse outcome as a result of the donation,” Shulman, an immigration lawyer in Paterson, New Jersey, said in multiple interviews with news reporters and print media. Along this line, U.S. District Judge Anne Thompson noted that “no one from the transplants that this defendant promoted or assisted suffered an ill result.” During one of the initial criminal hearings, the daughter of a kidney recipient called Mr. Rosenbaum a “hero” for saving her father’s life. She stated “my father was dying and the system was failing him,” referring to a five-year wait on a transplant list that never produced a suitable organ. Notably, that testimony brought to light the fact that an average of 18 people die on a daily basis in the United States every day while waiting for kidney donation. Rosenbaum’s immigration attorney, Edward Shulman, Esq. was able to convey these important facts to ICE.
Shulman, who did not represent Rosenbaum in the underlying criminal case, got involved in the case after the Aleph Institute, an advocacy group for Jews in prison sought his assistance. Rosenbaum initially sought counsel from two other immigration lawyers who had the knee- jerk reaction of stating that he would be deported and only through Mr. Shulman’s keen analysis did he determine and consequently convince ICE, the federal authority with the discretion to deport Rosenbaum, that the crime in question, while illegal, was not, in fact, immoral (e.g. a crime of moral turpitude) and was not a deportable offense.
Mr. Shulman was successful in this case because he possesses both the experience and creativity necessary to develop novel legal arguments which make crucial differences in the lives of his clients. The Shulman Law Group endeavors to ensure its clients be kept abreast of all significant developments relating to the process of immigration, as well as the consequences which can flow from certain criminal convictions, here in the United States. Edward Shulman, Esq, founder of The Shulman Law Group, LLC is a national speaker for the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). AILA is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, and to advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice. In the course of Mr. Shulman’s involvement with AILA, he has been dedicated to educating and mentoring other immigration attorneys about new developments in Immigration Law.