What Crimes Are Grounds for Deportation of Immigrants & Green Card Holders?

If you are a non-US citizen or permanent resident green card holder, it is important to be aware of the consequences of crimes to your current status.

There are several reasons for the U.S. immigration authorities to deport an immigrant—that is, send the person back to his or her country of origin.

You must bear in mind that all non-US citizens are at risk of deportation. The following may be deported if convicted of a crime:

  • Permanent residents, green card holders and other visa holders who have lived legally in the US for decades and own homes or well established businesses.
  • Workers in the US on L1, E2, O1 and H1B visas charged with DUI or crimes.
  • International F1 visa students and J 1 exchange visa scholars in the US.
  • Illegal immigrants who entered the US illegally or stayed past their visa expiration.
  • DACA eligible children of undocumented immigrants.
  • Refugees that have been granted asylum.
  • Non-US citizens that have a dependent child who is a US citizen.

Foreign nationals convicted of a “deportable crime” can be deported back to their country of origin by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and be blacklisted or barred from re-entering the US for years.

You must keep in mind that if you are convicted of a crime, the court is not likely to call it a “crime of moral turpitude” or an “aggravated felony.” You may simply be told that the crime is classified as, for example, a “misdemeanor”. It is up to the immigration officers to discern on how the crime is classified for immigration law purposes. As such, some misdemeanors can actually be grounds for deportation.

Grounds for deportation are the following offenses:

  • Alien smuggling
  • Domestic violence
  • Violent crimes, theft or forgery with imprisonment of at least 1 year
  • Crimes of “moral turpitude,”
  • Drug or controlled substance offenses
  • Firearms trafficking
  • Fraud, tax evasion, or money laundering with losses exceeding $10,000
  • Espionage
  • Sabotage
  • Terrorism
  • Other serious crimes such as rape, murder,  kidnapping, child pornography or sexual abuse of a minor and any other “aggravated felonies”

While the above are the most common under US law, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) Act 237 and INA § 101(a)(43) outlines a long list of “crimes of moral turpitude” and “aggravated felony” convictions that can be grounds for  deportation.

An immigration judge will order the foreign national convicted of any of these crimes to be included in the immigration deportation list. They may only be exempt if they apply for and receive a waiver of grounds of removal.

If you are facing deportation (removal) due to one of the above-mentioned reasons or for any other reason, it will be in your best interest to seek the advice of an immigration attorney in Virginia as soon as possible. It may be your chance to avoid a criminal conviction and deportation altogether. Call us now at Van Doren Law for your free initial consultation.