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When might an immigrant be deported for committing a crime?

Most people accused of committing a crime are concerned about multiple things. In addition to being worried about avoiding conviction they are often also upset about how others perceive them following the criminal charge. Immigrants living in the United States as permanent residents could be worrying about something else as well—avoiding deportation.

Many are not aware of when a criminal conviction could trigger the deportation of a permanent resident. There is good reason for this since the answer varies depending on a variety of factors—including the type of crime the person is convicted of committing as well as how long they have had permanent status.

More specifically, there are five scenarios in which the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency will seek to deport a permanent resident. When the permanent resident:

  • Is a drug addict or committed a drug-related offense
  • Committed an aggravated felony
  • Has been convicted of two crimes not arising out a single scheme deemed to meet the “moral turpitude” threshold
  • Committed a crime that could result in a sentence of a year or longer upon conviction
  • Committed a “crime involving moral turpitude” at some point in the five year window after the accused became a permanent resident

The reality is people of all backgrounds could find that they are facing criminal charges and possibly even be convicted. Because no one is perfect, it is good that less serious crimes are recognized as such and result in less harsh consequences individuals, including those who are permanent residents. Of course, as is the case with any immigration matter, the sooner the accused seeks legal assistance, for the issue, the better.

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