The United States government can deport any immigrant if they violate U.S. immigration laws. This applies to all immigrants, including: green card holders, Naturalized U.S. citizens, Lawful permanent residents and Non-Immigrant visa holders.
The most common violations that result in deportations are usually criminal convictions. Many can stem from misdemeanor criminal charges, including possession of controlled substances and traffic offenses.
Sometimes, depending on the seriousness of the crime, a misdemeanor could land you in removal proceedings. Courts look at the actual crime rather than its classification during their review of the offense. The judge will see if the crime falls under a deportable offense. Deportable offenses include crimes of “moral turpitude” and aggravated felonies.
Crimes of moral turpitude are not explicitly defined in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). But courts have stated that they include crimes that breach the people’s and the country’s trust. Thus, crimes involving theft and dishonesty are crimes involving moral turpitude. Some of the offenses that courts have classified as crimes of moral turpitude include: Embezzlement, Perjury, Assault and/or Shoplifting.
The Immigration and Nationality Act lists the crimes that are aggravated felonies under immigration law. These include: Murder, Firearm offenses , Drug trafficking, Rape, Theft and Child pornography.
It also includes other violent crimes where the penalty exceeds one year in jail. It is important to note that some crimes the INA lists as aggravated felonies are normally charged as misdemeanors. Some examples are theft, failure to appear in court under a court order, and certain crimes of violence. Petty offenses whose penalty does not exceed imprisonment of one year or more are categorized as an exception to crimes of moral turpitude.
This means if you only have one crime involving moral turpitude and the penalty does not exceed one year; the crime will not be grounds for deportation. But if you have been charged with more than one petty offense involving moral turpitude, you may be deported regardless of how short the sentence was.
Both criminal and immigration courts handle these matters. If you’re criminally convicted, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will also get involved. Cases involving deportation for a criminal conviction go before a judge in a criminal court. Portions will also be done in an immigration court before an immigration judge, called deportation proceedings. While misdemeanor crimes are not typically serious crimes, they still may be used as grounds for the removal of an immigrant from the United States.
Figuring out whether a criminal conviction will get you deported can be very complicated, especially since state and federal laws come into play. It’s always a good idea to consult with an experienced immigration attorney if you are concerned about a crime for which you may face charges or deportation. Regardless of severity, Criminal charges and convictions can have severe immigration consequences.
The consequences of a criminal conviction can be serious. They can be particularly severe for immigrants. From time to time, a criminal conviction can result in deportation. Sometimes, it may also make you inadmissible to enter the United States or prevent you from naturalization.
If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a criminal charge, immediately contact a Seattle Criminal Attorney. A Criminal lawyer is not going to judge you and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle Criminal Lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce penalties and can help direct people on how to best deal with their criminal charge, and many times even get them dismissed. So, it should go without saying that someone cited for a misdemeanor or felony should hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Lawyer as soon as possible. Criminal charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with a crime in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle Criminal Lawyer. SQ Attorneys can be reached at (425) 359-3791 and/or (206) 441-0900.