Some people have to leave the United States because their visas expire. Students and employment visas only last for a certain amount of time. Although applicants can renew their visas, eventually they will need to return to their country of origin.
Some people with visas will face removal from the United States when they theoretically have the right to stay in the country. In fact, it is even possible for those with green cards to face removal or deportation because of legal issues. Criminal prosecution is one of the most common complications that can affect someone’s immigration status.
There are multiple reasons that criminal charges can lead to someone’s removal from the United States, including the three below.
A serious felony conviction
Felony offenses, especially violent felonies, often lead to someone’s removal from the country. The federal government has specific rules related to violent crimes and felonies for immigrants. Typically, such convictions will make someone ineligible to renew their visa or to apply for a green card. A conviction can also lead to immediate removal from the country.
A conviction for a crime of moral turpitude
Misdemeanor offenses and nonviolent crimes can also affect someone’s immigration status. There is some discretion involved for the judges who oversee such cases. A crime of moral turpitude is any criminal activity that offends moral sensibilities. Crimes targeting children or involving drugs are among the offenses that may qualify as crimes of moral turpitude even if they don’t lead to felony charges.
A lengthy prison sentence
Someone could face only misdemeanor charges that are not serious enough to be crimes of moral turpitude and still face removal proceedings. The total duration of someone’s incarceration can lead to deportation or removal. If the sentence of all of the offenses combined is a year or longer, then the defendant is very likely to face removal from the country after such a conviction.
Immigrants often need to learn about the differences between the criminal law in the United States and the laws in their country of origin. Additionally, any immigrant accused of a crime will need to look at the situation carefully to see if will affect their status. Assertively defending yourself against criminal charges can help you avoid removal efforts as a United States immigrant.