Question: What convictions/crimes cause a person to be removed or deported from the U.S.?

Answer: That will depend on the specific circumstances of that person’s visa, their status inside the United States, the length of time he or she has been in the United States and the specifics of the crime. However, there are certain broad categories that will cause concern and will be likely to lead to removal even if the person has been in the U.S. a long time as a legal resident. Some of those crimes that will immediately cause us concern and we will need to look at the case is any crime involving drugs and restricted controlled substances. Those usually subject a person to removal. There may be an exception for a small amount of marijuana that is considered for personal use, but even that needs to be scrutinized very carefully.

Crimes of domestic violence are quite likely to make a person removable from the United States. Even if it is a misdemeanor crime under state law that does not mean that the immigration code will recognize that. There are some crimes that criminal law classifies as a misdemeanor, potentially a less serious crime, that immigration law does not follow that classification. Domestic violence is quite likely to lead to a person being removable from the United States.

The other crime classifications that we look at very carefully are crimes of moral turpitude and aggravated felonies. And again, those are as defined by immigration law, not as defined by criminal law. So that is not something that even an experienced criminal law attorney may know what a “crime of moral turpitude” is because that is an immigration definition that is set by case law and can be very specific to even a state law being different from one state to another under immigration code. But those are the kinds of things that an immigration attorney is going to look at to try to determine. If it’s going to be classified as an aggravated felony, it needs to be avoided as a penalty or there needs to be some other action taken to try and save that person from removability from the United States.

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