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Kane should be free to travel with team, Immigration attorney says

One of Buffalo’s top immigration attorneys said he does not believe that Evander Kane will face legal problems at the border if he is convicted of any of the charges Buffalo Police filed against Buffalo Sabres star on Friday.

“Unless there is something in his past criminal history that I am not aware of, it appears that these charges would have no ill effects on his immigration status,” said attorney Robert D. Kolkensaid after The Buffalo News asked him if Kane’s arrest could affect his ability to travel to or from Canada with the team.

“If he was convicted of a crime of moral turpitude, that could affect his travel status, or possibly cause him to be deported from the United States. But the charges that have been filed against him have not, in the past, been viewed as crimes of moral turpitude by our government.”

Kolken emphasized that he was giving his legal opinion, based on the facts publicly known. He said he does not have detailed information about the investigation.

Kane, 24, is a Canadian citizen. He faces a misdemeanor charge of criminal trespass, a violation of disorderly conduct and three violations of harassment – all in connection with a fracas that allegedly occurred early on the morning of June 24 at Bottoms Up, a downtown Buffalo night club.

Kolken, who has specialized in immigration law for the past 40 years, said he and his son, Matthew, have represented “many, many” clients who have been barred from travel to Canada – or from returning to the United States – because of criminal convictions that were viewed by the U.S. or Canadian governments as “moral turpitude crimes.” In many cases, Kolken said, those crimes have included driving while intoxicated.

Based on his experience, Kolken said he does not believe any of the charges against Kane would be viewed as “moral turpitude.” He said Kane could be in trouble if he had been charged, and then convicted, of either felony or misdemeanor.

“From what I read of the charges, it appears that he was properly charged, because there was no physical injury” to the alleged victims, Kolken said.

The U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals has described moral turpitude as a “nebulous concept,” according to a recent article by author Ilona Bray, and one that “refers generally to conduct that shocks the public conscience as being inherently base, vile, or depraved, contrary to the rules of morality and the duties owed between man and man, either one’s fellow man or society in general.” The person committing it should have had either an “evil intent” or been acting recklessly.

Bray is a writer for the nolo.com legal issues website.

email:dherbeck@buffnews.com

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