Being convicted of a crime could result in deportation which means that you would be asked to leave the United States. All immigrants, including those with green cards, can be deported if they violate U.S. laws. The most common reason for people to be placed into removal proceedings is because there is evidence that they have committed a crime. Immigrants can be deported if they commit a “crime of moral turpitude” or an aggravated felony. Also subject to deportation are foreigners who have entered the country illegally, overstayed and/or violated the conditions of their visa, or otherwise lost their legal status. Due process in the removal proceedings may be limited for those who are not yet United States citizens.
Crimes of moral turpitude:
Most commonly a crime of moral turpitude involves fraud, larceny, and/or a crime demonstrating an intent to harm a person. Crimes involving dishonesty and theft are almost always considered to be crimes of moral turpitude. Other examples are assault with the intent to rob or kill, spousal abuse, and driving while under the influence of alcohol. However, it may be possible to argue that your conviction should not be classified as a crime of moral turpitude. This is where the assistance of an attorney is extremely beneficial.
There are also a few situations where you may be able to apply for a waiver of a crime of moral turpitude. A deportation waiver is a request for an exception to an immigration rule. In order to qualify for a waiver, you can not have committed an aggravated felony or be a threat to national security and you must have lived in the United States for at least seven years. Examples of some situations where you may be granted a waiver are possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana, prostitution or solicitation of prostitution, or crimes committed more than 15 years ago.
The full list of crimes that are considered aggravated felonies under immigration law is extensive. It includes such crimes as murder; rape; drug or firearms trafficking; sexual abuse of a minor; child pornography; money laundering, fraud or tax evasion involving more than $10,000; theft or violent crime with a sentence of at least one year; espionage, sabotage, treason; or perjury with a sentence of at least one year. If you were convicted of an aggravated felony, avoiding deportation will be difficult unless you can prove it is more likely than not that you would be tortured in your native country upon return. You also will not be able to obtain a waiver to return to the U.S.
If you have been accused of a crime, consult with an experienced immigration attorney. It is always a good idea to consult with an immigration attorney when you prepare an immigration-related petition or waiver request for advice and assistance. Also, an attorney can assist you in identifying and collecting the best evidence to support your petition or waiver request.