What Crimes Cause Deportation or Removal?

The above question is one our office fields on a daily basis.  Both individuals and criminal defense attorneys want to know the answer.  Even some judges and prosecutors will reach out and ask the same question.  The unfortunate answer is “it depends.”

The first line of inquiry is the words of the law of the conviction.  The second line of inquiry is the length of the sentence.  The third inquiry is whether the person served any jail or prison time.  The next line of inquiry is whether the foreign national defendant entered the U.S. without inspection or if he or she went through a checkpoint and was admitted into the U.S.  All of these factors contribute in determining if a crime will cause deportation or removal.

The Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”) expressly requires the deportation or removal for categories of crimes.  These categories include aggravated felonies, crimes involving moral turpitude, domestic violence crimes, drug offenses, firearms violations and other criminal actions.  With some exceptions, the INA does not enumerate specific federal laws or state laws.  It becomes the province and duty of immigration judges to decide if the underlying crime will cause deportation or removal.

At the law firm of Hammond Law Group, LLC, we represent foreign nationals all over the country. Our team of experienced criminal immigration attorneys advise them on the deportation or removal consequences of their criminal cases on a daily basis.  We advise their criminal defense attorneys as well so that they can fashion better plea agreements and avoid some consequences if not all.

The Criminal Grounds of Deportation and Removal

There are some common misconceptions about criminal cases and their effect on people’s immigration status.  For example, not all felonies cause deportation or removal.  Another example is that some misdemeanors do cause removal proceedings.  Many criminal convictions will cause jail without bond during removal and deportation proceedings.  Many criminal cases cause other immigration issues, which are not part of this page but are located throughout this website or by contacting us directly.

The law subjects foreign nationals to deportation if they have been convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude including two misdemeanors.  So what is a crime involving moral turpitude?  Crimes involving moral turpitude or CMT’s include but are not limited to petty theft, shoplifting, forgery, fraud, assault, child abuse, kidnapping, resisting a police officer with violence and many more.  The best course of action you can take is to hire us to help you determine if your case qualifies as a CMT and thus causes deportation for you or your family member.

Aggravated felonies cause tremendous immigration consequences.  Aggravated felonies are found in INA § 101(a)(43).  The proscribed crimes include but are not limited to rape, murder, sexual abuse of a minor, drug trafficking, theft where the sentence is a year or more, fraud or deceit with more than $10,000 loss, tax evasion, crimes of violence where the sentence is a year or more, money laundering, drug trafficking and many more.  Deportation or removal for an aggravated felony results in a permanent bar to ever returning to the States.

Drug possession also causes deportation and removal.  There are some exceptions such as a single conviction for personal use of marijuana of under 30g that immigrant is not subject to deportation.  As well, the drug must be on the federal controlled substance list on the day of the conviction.  In Ohio, there are several substances listed on the Ohio controlled substance list that are not on the federal list.  The law considers drug possession with the intent to sell as a drug trafficking crime and therefore an aggravated felony.  As well, a misdemeanor possession crime can still cause deportation or removal and can cause jail without bond during the proceedings.

Domestic violence is a tricky one.  Domestic violence is not a federal crime.  That means the immigration judges have to analyze state laws and determine if they meet the federal deportation or removal laws.  If the state law categorically matches the federal deportation or removal law, then there can be a deportation or removal.  If the state statute does not categorically match, then the immigrant can’t be deported or removed.  Due to this paradigm, artful attorneys will make their arguments to the immigration judges that the state statute that their client violated does not cause removal.  This has been an ongoing battle with the Cleveland Immigration Court for a period of years.

Firearms violations, such as illegal possession, or carrying a concealed weapon or improper handling of a firearm or unlawful discharge of a firearm, are all variations.  A foreign national convicted of a firearm violation does not get a bond during removal proceedings.  A misdemeanor firearm violation can cause removal proceedings.

Qualified and Experienced Criminal-Immigration Lawyers

Our law firm’s experience with criminal-immigration issues will help you through your case.  A criminal immigration lawyer in Cleveland can advise you on the deportation consequences and develop defense strategies, such as relief from removal, to defend you.  We can help you and your family through this process and many times get you proper and lawful immigration status.  To find out how we can put our extensive experience to work for you, please contact our law practice, Hammond Law Group, LLC, today and tell us your story.  Our criminal immigration attorneys defend non-citizens in criminal deportation cases nationwide.