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Which crimes may lead to immigrant deportation?

There are few things scarier for an immigrant than facing deportation. It is hard to imagine how difficult it would be to return to your native country after building a new life in the United States. The best way to avoid this situation becoming a reality is to stay out of trouble with the law.

Immigrants and green card holders who are accused of crimes may have their status downgraded or face deportation depending on the circumstances of the case. In addition, those convicted of more severe crimes may have their ability to return in the future taken away. This is the most common reason for deportation.

With so much at stake, it’s important to understand how immigration law defines what crimes are grounds for deportation.

Aggravated felony

Aggravated felonies are a specific category of crime used exclusively in immigration law. These crimes range in severity from conventional felonies and some misdemeanors. The following list of crimes are all considered to be deportable offenses:

  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Assault
  • Smuggling
  • Fraud

It is extremely difficult to avoid deportation after a conviction of any of these crimes. Proving that returning to your native country will result in torture or death may be the only way to avoid deportation.

Moral turpitude

Crimes of moral turpitude are a little bit more difficult to define. They are offenses defined as dishonest and in violation of the moral standard of the community. The following are examples of crimes that fall under this umbrella:

  • Perjury
  • Tax evasion
  • Wire fraud
  • Child abuse
  • Pandering

Some fall under the category of aggravated felony, but the majority are considerably less severe. These offenses do not immediately result in deportation. Instead, deportation for crimes involving moral turpitude comes as a result of when the offense occurred. There are two ways these offenses may result in deportation:

  • Convicted of a crime within five years of admission to the United States
  • Commit two or more unrelated crimes at any time after admission to the United States

Simply, these crimes are less severe than aggravated felonies but still may ultimately result in removal from the United States.

It is important to understand the difference between a crime that can result in deportation and a crime that may result in a lesser penalty. Any charge is a serious matter for somebody concerned about their status in this country. An experienced attorney can help to understand your options.

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