Who Can Be Deported?
Non-citizens of the United States–including legal permanent residents–are subject to removal from U.S. territory if convicted of certain crimes as enumerated in the Immigration and Nationality Act. Those transgressions include:
- Illegal drug possession or sale
- Sex crimes like prostitution or child pornography
- Fraudulent use of credit cards or passports
- Illegal possession of a firearm
- Domestic violence
As demonstrated, the crimes do not have to rise to the level of aggravated felonies (murder, for example) to warrant the penalty of deportation. Conviction of a wide variety of criminal acts can affect immigration status and the eligibility to keep a job. Those found guilty should not assume that jail time or fines paid prevent further action by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Talk to a seasoned attorney before hearing from the government.
How a Lawyer Can Help
Indeed, simply entering the United States when deemed ineligible is viewed as a crime. Yet experienced attorneys have several tools at hand to aid immigrants under threat of removal.
1. A waiver of removal is possible if the non-citizen can demonstrate that an unreasonable burden will afflict the immediate family should deportation happen. The likelihood of getting a waiver is higher when the family has lawful permanent residents or actual citizens among its number.
2. A suspension of removal proceedings is attainable if–in addition to the extreme hardship criterion previously noted–the applicant can prove continuous residence in the U.S. for seven consecutive years. Also, he or she must present evidence of good moral character.
3. A judge may grant an adjustment of status if the immigrant can show a parent, child, widow or marital relationship to a U.S. citizen. If granted, the adjustment confers lawful permanent residency. This does not guarantee that deportation will never again come up; it simply closes the specific case in question.
4. Voluntary departure is certainly nobody’s first choice to avoid deportation but it does keep this extreme measure off the record. In so doing, it strengthens the immigrant’s chances of re-entry and legal residency status down the road. In order to receive voluntary departure recognition, the applicant must not be guilty of any aggravated felonies; have the financial means to cover travel expenses; who likewise maintain a history of good moral character; and who leave within the time window established by the immigration judge.
Above all, immigrants in danger of deportation should contact an attorney who understands these options (and the others that are available). Immigration lawyers are most effective when long experience is their guide. Spending years before immigration judges; knowing local ICE officials; and understanding the difficulties encountered by non-citizens build competence and excellence in a deportation legal expert. Such professionals are found at the Spodek Law Group. Call us any time for a free and confidential consultation.