Staying in the United States as an immigrant can be difficult. You must comply with the rules set by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You also need to avoid employment issues or criminal charges that would affect your eligibility to stay in the country.
While employment issues only really matter to those with employment visas, criminal charges can impact anyone not yet a citizen of the United States. Some criminal offenses will prevent you from becoming a permanent resident or citizen. Other criminal offenses can lead to deportation or your removal from the United States.
What kinds of criminal charges may result in deportation?
The United States has long maintained a strict stance on drug offenses. Immigrants convicted of offenses involving controlled or prohibited substances could find themselves facing deportation even if addiction led to their offense.
If an immigrant gets convicted of an offense involving a dangerous weapon, that offense might trigger deportation. Both the courts and immigration officials are likely to view such an offense as an indicator that someone is a risk to the public.
Domestic violence charges can have serious immigration consequences. Even those from a country where such behavior is legal or a culture where it is common could face immigration charges for such behavior in the United States. Sometimes, domestic violence can split up families, as the courts may deport the family member accused and allow the rest to stay in the United States.
Crimes of moral turpitude
The final category of deportable criminal offenses includes crimes of moral turpitude. Any criminal offense that a judge or immigration officials fine to be morally offensive could be grounds for deportation. There is room for interpretation here, which might be part of a defense strategy for someone facing deportation.
A range of other charges can lead to deportation as well. Allegations of marriage fraud or trafficking can result in someone’s removal from the United States. So can repeat convictions for similar offenses, aggravated felonies or even the failure to register as a sec offender after a conviction.
Understanding when the United States government can try to remove you from the country can help you defend your right to stay.