Once you become a legal permanent resident, you have to maintain that status by continuously residing in the U.S. for five years and avoiding extended travel. However, there are other ways you can endanger your legal status, including criminal activity. Some crimes could lead to the loss of your legal permanent resident status.
Are you facing criminal charges? Let us help. Call Garmo Group at 619-441-2500 to learn more about your options now.
Some crimes do not lead to deportation. Much depends on whether or not your crime is one of “moral turpitude.” Immigration law does not define “crimes of moral turpitude” explicitly, but most courts consider larceny, fraud, and the intention to harm other people as crimes of moral turpitude. This includes crimes like theft, assault, domestic violence, and aggravated DUI charges.
Again, whether or not a crime is one of moral turpitude is left up to the court. That’s why it’s important to treat any criminal charge as one that could threaten your immigration and plan accordingly.
Under immigration law, some crimes are explicitly not classified as crimes of moral turpitude. The petty offense exception applies to crimes for which the penalty cannot be more than one year of incarceration and for which the individual serves less than six months.
If you have been charged with a crime of moral turpitude, what happens next? If you are convicted within the first five years of your admission to the United States, you could face deportation. If you are convicted of two crimes of moral turpitude that did not occur in the same incident, you could be deported at any time.
Crimes That May Lead to Deportation
Federal laws lay out some crimes that do put violators in the class of “deportable aliens.” These crimes include:
- Aggravated felonies
- High speed flight from an immigration checkpoint
- Failure to register as a sex offender
- Certain drug crimes
- Certain firearm offenses
- Crimes against children
- Domestic violence and stalking
- Terrorist activities
- Torture or extrajudicial killing
The list is quite lengthy, which is why you must discuss your criminal charges with an attorney as soon as possible after an arrest. Discuss your options with an attorney with extensive knowledge in criminal defense and knowledge in the relationship between immigration status and criminal convictions.
Some forms of relief can help those convicted of crimes seek employment, go back to school, and otherwise get their lives back on track. However, these types of relief do not typically apply to immigration cases. Even if a sentence is modified, it is likely that U.S. immigration will ignore it and proceed with deportation.
Waivers are occasionally available for crimes of moral turpitude. The 212(h) waiver is only available to those who are not considered a threat to national security and you must have been in the U.S. for at least seven years prior to your deportation case. This waiver is not available to those who have been convicted of an aggravated felony. You can also seek a waiver if your deportation would cause extreme hardship to your LPR or U.S. citizen spouse, parents, or children.
There are few forms of relief available for those convicted of an aggravated felony. U.S. immigration is very strict on this matter, and people are generally only allowed to stay if they can prove that they will likely be tortured in their native country. Furthermore, you will not be allowed to return to the U.S. after deportation.
Knowing Your Options
A serious crime can lead to your deportation, so you must take this matter seriously and handle it promptly. Reach out to an aggressive immigration attorney who understands what is at stake and will explore every possible way to get your charges dismissed or reduced in a way that will not lead to deportation. The longer you wait to hire an attorney, the less time they have to protect you from deportation and other consequences of criminal charges.
Turn to Garmo Group Today
If you are facing criminal charges in Southern California and you are concerned about your immigration status, let the team at Garmo Group help. Contact us online or call our La Mesa office today at 619-441-2500 to schedule a consultation now.