Deportable Crimes for Non-citizens and Undocumented Immigrants
Immigrants with criminal records will soon come under increased scrutiny. President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to deport millions of immigrants with criminal records. In a televised interview, Mr. Trump said, “What we are going to do is get the people that are criminals and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, we have a lot of these people, probably two million, it could be even three million, we are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate” or imprison them.
When non-citizens are convicted of “aggravated felonies,” a broad term under federal law, they face both criminal penalties and deportation. The Supreme Court recently gave the term “aggravated assault” an expansive meaning and, in effect, a non-citizen may be deported for a crime that traditionally may neither be considered “aggravated” nor a “felony.” New offenses added to the list are retroactive, so a non-citizen may face removal despite having served the sentence for the crime many years before.
The American Immigration Council’s fact sheet on aggravated felonies for noncitizens reports that an aggravated felony is any crime that Congress so labels. While Congress continues to expand the definition, it has not removed any crimes from the list, which includes crimes ranging from failing to appear or show up in court to murder. But non-citizens can be deported for a simple battery or filing a false tax return.
What’s more, if an immigrant is convicted of a “crime involving moral turpitude,” he or she can also face deportation proceedings. Examples of crimes involving moral turpitude include crimes for which the accused is sentenced to a year or more in jail even if the sentence is suspended or retired. There are significant consequences for conviction of a crime that can be considered an aggravated felony or a crime involving moral turpitude, including:
- Deportation without a removal hearing
- Mandatory detention following release from criminal custody
- Ineligibility for asylum
- Ineligibility for Cancellation of Removal
- Ineligibility for Certain Waivers of Inadmissibility
- Ineligibility for Voluntary Departure
- Permanent Inadmissibility Following Departure from the United States
- Enhanced Penalties for Illegally Reentering the United States
It is vital that you work with an experienced Nashville immigration attorney who will protect your rights when you are charged with a crime that can have an impact on your ability to remain in the U.S. and seeking citizenship.
The Law Office of Perry A. Craft, PLLC fights on behalf of immigrants accused of crimes and aggravated felonies and other crimes that could have a negative impact on their immigration status. If you or someone you care about is facing criminal charges, contact Nashville immigration attorney Perry Craft by calling 615-953-3808 or fill out our contact form.
Perry A. Craft has dedicated his life to helping people in need. He has tried, settled, or resolved numerous civil and criminal cases in State and Federal courts, and has represented teachers and administrators before school boards, administrative judges, and the state Board of Education. Learn more about Attorney Craft.