Criminal grounds of removability/deportability
Can I be deported if I have a conviction?
Answer: Yes, if you are not a US Citizen, you may be placed in removal proceedings. Whether or not you will be deported depends on the number of convictions and the type of crimes you were convicted of. It is important to understand that you may have a valid defense to the removability charges. You should hire an immigration lawyer as soon as you are placed in removal proceedings.
What is a conviction?
Answer: The term "conviction" is defined in INA §101(a)(48)(A). Conviction means a formal judgment of guilt of the alien by a court. In addition, a foreign national is considered to have been convicted even if 1) the court withheld adjudication where the alien was found guilty or the alien entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere or has admitted sufficient facts to warrant a finding of guilt AND 2) the judge has ordered some form of punishment, penalty, or restraint on the alien's liberty.
Punishment can include but is not limited to incarceration, probation, fine, restitution, community-based sanctions, suspended sentences, revocation or suspension of a driver's license.
What are the criminal grounds of deportability/removability?
Answer: 1. Crimes involving moral turpitude; 2. Multiple criminal convictions; 3. Aggravated felonies; and 4. High speed flight.
I have been convicted of a crime. Am I going to be deported?
Answer: In order to answer this question, I need to know the following: 1) the type of crime you were convicted of or in other words whether the crime is one of moral turpitude; 2) when was the crime committed or whether the crime was committed within 5 years after your admission to the United States; 3) whether the crime was one for which a sentence of one year or more of confinement in prison may be imposed. It is important to understand that the actual sentence is not what it matters. The question is whether a sentence of 1 year or more could have been imposed by the court.
What is a crime involving moral turpitude?
Answer: This is a good question. The term moral turpitude is difficult to define. Generally, offenses that involve permanent takings such as theft offenses, bribery, robbery, arson are considered crimes involving moral turpitude. Also, an aggravated assault conviction is a crime involving moral turpitude. There are many other crimes that are considered crimes involving moral turpitude (CIMT). If you have been convicted of a crime and afraid you may be placed in removal proceedings, you need to consult a lawyer who will be able to review your criminal record and determine whether you are removable and whether you have any defenses.
I am a green card holder and have two convictions. Can be deported?
Answer: Yes. INA §237(a)(2)(A)(ii) states as follows: " any alien who at any time after admission is convicted of two or more crimes involving moral turpitude, not arising out of a single scheme of criminal misconduct, regardless of whether confined thereof and regardless of whether the convictions were in a single trial, is deportable.
It is important to determine whether you the crimes you were convicted of involve moral turpitude.
I was convicted of shoplifting. Am I deportable?
Answer: It depends. If you are a lawful permanent resident and were convicted of a shoplifting offense within the five years of your admission and a sentence of one year or more
may be imposed for your offense, then you are deportable. However, if you were convicted of shoplifting for stealing merchandise under $200, your conviction is likely considered a disorderly persons offense for which the maximum sentence is 6 months or less. Therefore, you are NOT deportable because even though shoplifting is a crime involving moral turpitude, the maximum sentence is only 6 months (if the stolen merchandise was less than $200). Please note that this example applies to individuals convicted in New Jersey.
The criminal statute governing shoplifting offenses in NJ is N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11. It is important to determine the degree of the crime you were convicted of.
I was convicted of an aggravated felony. Am I deportable?
Answer: Yes. If you are not a US citizen, you are deportable if you have been convicted of an aggravated felony at any time of admission.
What is an aggravated felony?
Answer: The Immigration and Nationality Act has defined 21 categories of aggravated felonies. If you would like to determine whether you conviction falls under the aggravated felony category, you should consult with an immigration lawyer.
I have been convicted of theft. Is theft an aggravated felony?
Answer: If you have been convicted of a theft offense and a term of at least one year was imposed, then your conviction is considered an "aggravated felony" for immigration purposes.
I have been convicted of simple possession of marijuana. Am I deportable?
Answer: It depends on the quantity of the marijuana. If it was 30 grams or less and for your personal use, you are not deportable under the so called "simple possession exception." However, I recommend you consult an immigration lawyer to review your situation.
I have been convicted of domestic violence. Am I deportable?
Answer: Yes. Seek legal representation immediately.
I have been convicted of stalking. Am I deportable?
Answer: Yes. Seek legal representation immediately
I am an LPR and voted in a state election. Am I deportable?
Answer: The answer is most likely yes. Any alien who has voted in violation of any Federal, State, or local constitutional provision, statute, ordinance, or regulation is deportable. Thus, if you voted in a state election and the state prohibits non-US citizens to vote in such an election, you are deportable.
I am an LPR and voted in a Federal Election. Can I be deported?
Answer: Yes, unless you fall under a very limited exception. In order to determine whether you fall under the exception, consult an immigration lawyer.
I have been convicted of domestic violence but I am in fact the victim of domestic violence. Am I deportable?
Answer: You may be eligible for relief if you were subjected to extreme cruelty and meet other statutory requirements. Consult with an immigration lawyer for a detailed review of your situation.
Authored by: Aneliya Angelova