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Immigration Law Blog

Monday, September 3, 2018

Felonies and Immigration Status

For those legally residing within the United States on a visa or green card, being convicted of a crime can have dire consequences. In some cases, a conviction can revoke your right to remain within the United States, and potentially bar your future return. If convicted of a misdemeanor or felony, you may face deportation but can fight that deportation order via the legal system. However, if the conviction is for a crime of moral turpitude or an aggravated felony, you are  generally ineligible to contest the removal order.

Crimes of Moral Turpitude

Crimes of moral turpitude are crimes generally deemed to go beyond basic moral standards of society. Unfortunately, there is no definite list of crimes of moral turpitude. However, courts have found crimes involving deceit, fraud, and the victimization of to be crimes of moral turpitude. Specifical offenses found to be crimes of moral turpitude include carrying a concealed weapon without a license, abusing a child, committing wire or bank fraud, perjury, tax evasion, and mail fraud.

Aggravated Felony

An aggravated felony in relation to immigration law is not the same as in state courts.While certain crimes may constitute a misdemeanor at the state level,  for immigration purposes, such crimes may be considered an aggravated felony. Some of the crimes that Congress has an expressly identified crimes considered to be aggravated felonies for immigration purposes are:

  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Sexual abuse of a minor
  • Drug trafficking
  • Trafficking destructive devices such as explosives
  • Money laundering in excess of $10,000
  • Arson
  • Child pornography
  • Theft offenses punishable by more than one-year imprisonment
  • Human trafficking
  • Offenses committed by an alien previously deported

Effects of a Conviction for Aggravated Felonies or Crimes of Moral Turpitude on Your Immigration Status

The impact of a conviction largely depends upon your immigration status. If you are in the United States on a non-immigrant visa, you will likely be deported upon being convicted. Conversely, if you are a permanent resident, you may be detained pending deportation. A permanent resident might not ultimately be deported from the United States for being convicted of an aggravated felony or a crime of moral turpitude. However, the permanent resident may still face severe consequences beyond the criminal system. In some cases, the permanent resident may be denied the ability to pursue citizenship in the United States. Thus, the consequences for being convicted of certain crimes go well beyond the criminal justice system – they can directly impact your immigration status and ability to remain within the United States.

Being charged with a crime that is an aggravated felony or that may be considered a crime of moral turpitude has far-reaching consequences. It is essential to with an experienced immigration attorney to ensure your  immigration status is not in jeopardy.

 


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