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Can a criminal charge lead to someone’s deportation?

On Behalf of | Nov 29, 2023 | Immigration Law

The United States government can deport immigrants for a variety of reasons. Some people fail to file proper paperwork. Others do not maintain the relationships that secured their visas or green cards. For others, it may be criminal matters that put them at risk of removal.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) performs background checks at every stage of the immigration process and denies opportunities to those who fail background checks. A review of someone’s criminal record is a key aspect of a background check. Will someone’s criminal prosecution lead to their deportation?

Only some crimes have immigration consequences

There are many actions that are technically against the law that would not likely affect someone’s immigration status. The United States does not deport people for traffic infractions or other minor offenses.

However, more serious crimes can have immigration consequences. In general, sexual offenses, violent crimes and drug offenses typically impact immigration opportunities. The government can also deport individuals sentenced to a lengthy period of incarceration. A combined sentence of five years is enough to deport someone. Actually serving at least 180 days in state custody could also affect lead to deportation.

Additionally, there is a degree of discretion involved. The government can deport those convicted of crimes of moral turpitude. A crime of moral turpitude is offensive to the sensibilities of the community, which is a definition that is open to interpretation.

Immigrants who are worried about losing their right to stay in the United States may benefit from a strong defense strategy after an arrest. Learning about whether a charge will affect immigration can help someone decide how to respond to pending criminal allegations.