Examines the effects of committing particular crimes on one’s immigration status and the risk of deportation.
Understanding Immigration Status and Criminal Convictions
When a non-citizen in the United States is convicted of certain crimes, the consequences can extend far beyond the criminal justice system. Depending on the nature of the offense, an individual’s immigration status can be severely affected, leading to detention, removal proceedings, and potential deportation.
Definitions and Legal Framework
Immigration Status: The legal recognition by the immigration system of a person’s right to enter, reside in, or work in the U.S. This status varies from temporary visas to permanent residency (Green Card holders).
Deportation (Formal Removal): The formal removal of an immigrant from the United States for violating immigration or criminal laws, as outlined in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
- INA § 237(a): Outlines the various criminal offenses that can lead to deportation, including but not limited to aggravated felonies, drug offenses, and crimes of moral turpitude.
The Effect of Crimes on Immigration Status
Aggravated felonies, as defined by INA § 101(a)(43), include a wide range of crimes such as murder, drug trafficking, and certain firearm offenses. Non-citizens convicted of an aggravated felony are subject to mandatory detention and are often ineligible for most forms of relief from deportation.
Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude
Crimes involving moral turpitude (CIMT) are less clearly defined but generally include crimes that shock the public conscience, such as fraud, theft, and some assault offenses. A single CIMT can render an individual deportable, especially if committed within five years of admission to the U.S.
Controlled Substance Violations
Under INA § 212(a)(2)(A)(i)(II), any non-citizen convicted of or who admits to committing a controlled substance violation (with the exception of a single offense involving possession for one’s own use of 30 grams or less of marijuana) is deportable.
Relief from Deportation
- Cancellation of Removal: For non-permanent residents who have been in the U.S. for at least ten years, shown good moral character, and can prove that deportation would cause exceptional hardship to U.S. citizen or permanent resident family members.
- Asylum: If one fears persecution in their home country on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.
- Adjustment of Status: In some cases, an immigrant may be eligible to adjust their status to that of a lawful permanent resident, even while in removal proceedings.
- Waivers of Inadmissibility: Certain waivers are available for specific grounds of inadmissibility, often requiring proof of hardship to family members who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
Author’s Authority and Experience
As an attorney specializing in immigration and criminal law in New York and New Jersey, I have witnessed firsthand the complexities involved when a non-citizen is facing criminal charges. My advice is anchored in years of navigating both state and federal legal systems, and the intersection of criminal acts with immigration law.
|Immigration Status||The legal recognition by the immigration system of a person’s right to enter, reside in, or work in the U.S. This status varies from temporary visas to permanent residency.|
|Deportation (Formal Removal)||The formal removal of an immigrant from the United States for violating immigration or criminal laws, as outlined in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).|
|INA § 237(a)||Outlines the various criminal offenses that can lead to deportation, including but not limited to aggravated felonies, drug offenses, and crimes of moral turpitude.|
|Aggravated Felonies||A type of crimes, defined by INA § 101(a)(43), such as murder, drug trafficking, and certain firearm offenses, that can lead to mandatory detention and possible deportation.|
|Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude||Crimes that shock the public conscience, such as fraud, theft, and some assault offenses. A single CIMT can render a person deportable, especially if committed within five years of admission to the U.S.|
|Controlled Substance Violations||Convictions or admission to controlled substance violation, with the exception of a single offense involving possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana, may not only result in deportation but also inadmissibility to the U.S.|
|Relief from Deportation||Measures such as cancellation of removal, asylum, adjustment of status, and waivers of inadmissibility that can help a non-citizen avoid deportation.|
With increasing incidents of immigrants facing deportation due to criminal convictions, it’s paramount to understand how legal procedures intertwine in such scenarios. Misconceptions about the nature and severity of crimes can result in unnecessary distress. This article serves as a guide for non-citizens to understand the process of deportation due to criminal offenses, the range of crimes that may result in deportation, and potential solutions.
With the rise in episodes of foreigners confronting expulsion due to criminal verdicts, it’s essential to comprehend how legal protocols intermingle in such occurrences. Misinterpretations about the nature and harshness of crimes can give rise to unnecessary anxiety. This discourse serves as a manual for non-citizens to comprehend the procedural deportation due to illegitimate offenses, the breadth of crimes which may lead to expulsion and probable reprieves or reliefs.
- The Relationship Between Criminal Convictions and Immigration Status – Jstor
- Criminal Convictions and Deportation Under U.S Immigration Law – Legal Information Institute, Cornell Law School
- Immigration Consequences of Criminal Convictions – American Immigration Council
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is an aggravated felony in the context of immigration law? A: An aggravated felony in immigration law encompasses a wide range of crimes that Congress has determined to be particularly serious. These offenses, listed in INA § 101(a)(43), include but are not limited to murder, drug trafficking, and certain firearm offenses.
Q: Can a non-citizen be deported for a crime that is not considered serious in criminal court? A: Yes, even crimes that may be minor under criminal law can be considered serious for immigration purposes. Crimes involving moral turpitude and drug offenses, for example, can lead to deportation even if they are misdemeanors.
Q: What is a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT)? A: A CIMT generally refers to an act that is inherently base, vile, or depraved, and contrary to the accepted rules of morality and the duties owed between people or to society in general.
Q: Is it possible to avoid deportation if one has committed a crime? A: It may be possible, depending on the crime and the individual’s immigration status, history, and family ties in the U.S. Various forms of relief, such as cancellation of removal, asylum, adjustment of status, and waivers of inadmissibility, may be available.
Q: Does a non-citizen have the right to an attorney in immigration proceedings? A: Non-citizens have the right to be represented by an attorney in immigration proceedings, but unlike in criminal cases, the government is not obligated to provide one for free. It is highly recommended to seek legal counsel when facing deportation due to criminal charges.
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