Non-citizens have significantly fewer rights than U.S. citizens, especially when it comes to criminal law. If you are in the U.S. legally on a visa or a green card, the federal government has standards of behavior for you to maintain your legal status. One of two things can cause you to lose your legal status: a felonious crime or an act of moral turpitude.
Some felonies trigger permanent deportation
The immigration status and naturalization process typically comes to a halt when individuals are accused of felony crimes. In particular, an aggravated felony charge or something worse will almost certainly result in permanent deportation with no chance to re-enter legally. Many acts can lead to an aggravated felony, such as theft, battery or even filing a fraudulent tax return. All can lead to instant detainment followed by deportation.
Crimes of moral turpitude might cause deportation
The federal government also takes a dim view of crimes of moral turpitude. Such crimes violate accepted moral standards and could lead to deportation. Acts like concealment of a weapon, wire fraud, child abuse and tax evasion are examples of crimes of moral turpitude. A conviction does not automatically lead to deportation, but it does make it far more likely.
Many consequences other than deportation
While a prison sentence followed by permanent deportation is the most extreme result of criminal charges, it is not necessarily the final result. Various circumstances could prevent a deportation, including a danger to the individual’s life, such as a genocidal regime controlling their home nation. Extenuating circumstances might also come into play and result in a lesser punitive measure.
Several exceptions are in place that can help stop a potential deportation as well as legal processes to challenge unlawful deportations. An experienced Dallas-area immigration law attorney may review your case and help to determine your best possible strategy for a positive outcome.