What happens if an undocumented immigrant commits a crime? Will they be at risk for deportation? If a U.S. citizen is an immigrant, they must realize that there may be consequences if they commit a crime under this status. But first, you have to ask yourself, what type of crimes are grounds for deportation? Was the crime a misdemeanor or a felony and what will that mean for the case? In many cases, it will depend on the circumstances to determine if you will be sent back out of the country or not.
What crimes are grounds for deportation?
Convictions for crimes involving something known as “moral turpitude” or “aggravated felonies” can carry harsh consequences for immigrants. They may even be barred from entering the United States anytime in the future. Now you can learn more about both of these crimes.
- Aggravated Felony: This term includes some offenses that are considered misdemeanors in state or federal courts. It is actually a unique category only pertaining to immigrants that encompasses a wide variety of acts that could lead to removal from the country. In 1988, aggravated felony included very serious things like murder, federal drug trafficking, and trafficking of firearms. However, since 1988, Congress has taken it in their hands to add more offenses to the list including simple battery, theft, filing a fraudulent tax return, failure to appear in court, and consensual sex between a 17-year-old and a 16-year-old.
- Moral Turpitude: These are crimes determined by the court to violate the accepted moral standards of the community. There is really no definitive list. However, the courts have considered including perjury, tax evasion, wire fraud, carrying a concealed weapon, and child abuse as crimes of this nature.
What are some consequences?
If you are a foreign national, you may not be immediately deported, this much is true. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) considers a number of factors with regard to penalties that are given to the immigrant. These are possible consequences for immigrants who commit aggravated felonies:
- Legal Permanent Resident: These immigrants are subject to deportation, are subject up to 20 years in prison if they enter the U.S. without permission after removal, and could become permanently barred from future immigration to the U.S.
- Refugee: They may be deported after a criminal conviction, after a felony, or could be subject to judicial discretion.
- Asylee: They may be deported only after being convicted of a particularly serious crime, which could include any aggravated felony.
- Non-Citizen with Temporary Lawful Status: This group includes individuals with non-immigrant visas and those under a temporary protected status. They could lose this status and be removed for any felony conviction or two or more misdemeanor convictions.
- Non-Citizen without Legal Status: These immigrants are not authorized to be in the U.S. and could be subject to deportation after any criminal offense.
The truth of the matter is that, if you are here as an immigrant, the U.S. may be strict when it comes to criminal offenses. Say that you have been living here in the states for eight years lawfully after coming here as an immigrant. You receive a criminal conviction after being caught with 30 grams of marijuana for personal use. You may be subject to deportation even though the crime is a misdemeanor. Yes, there is a chance that you could face harsh penalties, which is why you should consult with an experienced attorney about your case. Call the law office of Peter Blair located in San Diego.