Obviously, being convicted of a crime can have serious ramifications for anyone's life. However, if you are a foreign national living in this country on a green card or visa, you may end up being deported and forbidden from returning if you are convicted of a crime or other action that falls into the category of "aggravated felonies. Even if you avoid deportation, you may have your residency status downgraded or lose your ability to become a legal permanent resident.
This term "aggravated felony" can be confusing because these include crimes that are not considered felonies under federal or state law. In some cases, they also include actions that aren't even crimes except under immigration law.
Whether or not a person is deported for committing an aggravated felony is ultimately the decision of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. However, USCIS more often than not will order deportation.
Congress has added to the list of aggravated felonies over the years. They include:
-- Failure to appear in court-- Filing a fraudulent tax return-- Consensual sex between a 16 and 17-year-old-- Theft
A person can be immediately deported for what are considered "crimes of moral turpitude." It's up to a court to determine whether an action violates the moral standards deemed to be acceptable to the community. However, these crimes can include:
-- Tax evasion-- Perjury-- Child abuse-- Carrying a concealed weapon-- Wire fraud
People's specific immigration status may also be a determinant of whether they are removed from the country. For example, an undocumented immigrant with no legal status can be deported for any criminal offense. For those with some type of legal status in this country, the possibility of deportation may depend on the seriousness of the crime. It should be noted that returning to the U.S. after being ordered not to can result in years behind bars.
While an immigration attorney can help with an attempt to avoid deportation or other penalty related to your immigration status, the first priority of someone arrested for committing a crime is to try get the charges dropped or downgraded. A Connecticut criminal defense attorney's help is recommended for anyone charged with a crime. However, it is essential for a foreign national.
Source: FindLaaw, "How Does a Felony Affect Immigration Status?," accessed Sep. 10, 2015