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Criminal Charges & Immigration Status

Immigrants have been drawn to the United States for hundreds of years. The U.S. symbolizes freedom and opportunity, so it’s no wonder why foreign nationals immigrate to America to build a better life for themselves and their families.

When immigrants come to the U.S., they can be deported or removed from the country if they violate U.S. immigration laws. One of the most common reasons why green card holders face removal proceedings is they are convicted of deportable offenses.

Specifically, immigrants are convicted of crimes that are aggravated felonies, or crimes classified as “crimes of moral turpitude.” While U.S. immigration law does not clearly define crimes of moral turpitude, generally they are crimes that are deplorable or go against the mores of society.

Certain deportable crimes are also listed in the Immigration and Nationality Act under General Classes of Deportable Aliens. That being said, we want to address what can happen to legal immigrants in the country facing criminal charges, and under what circumstances they can get deported.

What Are Some Deportable Offenses?

As we mentioned earlier, “crimes of moral turpitude” are not clearly defined, however, the Department of State has indicated that fraud, larceny (theft), and violent crimes are common elements of crimes involving “moral turpitude.”

If a crime involves dishonesty or theft, it will almost always fall under the category of a moral turpitude crime. For example, immigration fraud, identity theft, and credit card fraud are all offenses that could lead to deportation.

Crimes involving physical violence or physical harm would be considered crimes of moral turpitude. Examples would include aggravated assault, aggravated sexual assault, family violence (spousal abuse and child abuse), and felony DWI (intoxication assault and manslaughter).

Additionally, U.S. immigration law frowns heavily upon green card holders who commit drug-related crimes. In effect, most, if not all, drug offenses can lead to removal proceedings.

Since there are too many deportable offenses to list here, it’s best to speak with a Plano criminal defense attorney from our firm if you are facing criminal charges. Our defense lawyers are well-versed in deportation defense and U.S. immigration laws and are in the best position to help you and your family!