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Criminal Convictions Can Result in Serious Immigration Consequences


Criminal convictions are always accompanied with consequences. However the consequence for immigrant visa-holders can be dire. Depending on the nature of the crimes committed, immigrants can face deportation, inadmissibility or other visa problems. Serious crimes that involve violence or deceitful conduct such as aggravated felonies or crimes of moral turpitude carry heavy penalties. Any visa holder that is facing criminal convictions should consult with an attorney to determine how the conviction will affect one's stay in the United States.

While there are many different convictions carrying different degrees of seriousness and penalties, here are a few of the most serious convictions that can lead to deportation, inadmissibility or other consequences

Crimes of Moral Turpitude
A crime of moral turpitude is a phrase to describe a broad category of crimes, but generally is described as a crime that "shocks the conscience, " is dishonest or is contrary to society's rules of morality. These crimes include murder, manslaughter, kidnapping, fraud, and aggravated assault among others. This triggers deportation as well as inadmissibility into the United States

Aggravated Felonies
Aggravated felonies are a group of offenses added to the Immigration and Nationality Act that carry some of the harshest immigration consequences. The crimes in this category vary from murder to theft crimes and conspiracy. These harsh consequences could include deportation without a hearing, ineligibility for asylum, ineligibility for cancellation of removal and ineligibility for voluntary departure. A person convicted of an aggravated felony could also face permanent inadmissibility following departure from the United States and significant penalties for illegally re-entering the United States. This category also carries mandatory detention following release from custody.

Firearm Offenses
Any crime involving illegal purchase, sale, exchange, ownership or possession of a firearm can result in a deportation. This can be extended to the firearm accessories as well.

Crimes against the State
Crimes against the United States or United States officers can result in deportation. These crimes include espionage, sabotage, treason, or conspiracy. Threats against the President also fall in this category.

Domestic Violence
Convictions of any domestic violence crimes can result in deportation. Child abuse, neglect and abandonment also can trigger deportation.

Violating a Protective Order
Protective Orders must be strictly complied with and a violation of the order can trigger deportation.

Fleeing an Immigration Checkpoint
Any immigrant that flees from an immigration checkpoint without complying with the checkpoint regulations is in violation of federal law and can cause deportation proceedings.

Falsifying Documents
Falsifying important government documents such as visas, permits or other admission documents can result in deportation.

Controlled Substance Offenses
Drug offense are taken seriously and depending on the specific statute violated, can result in deportation or inadmissibility.

These are just some of the offenses that could result in deportation or other immigration consequences. There are many other crimes that can also affect visa status. Whenever a conviction occurs the visa holder should be aware that immigration status may be affected as well and should seek out guidance on this issue.

Whenever deportation is a risk, an attorney should be contacted. The Law Offices of Sweta Khandelwal can assist with any issue affecting immigration status. Attorney Khandelwal has over 10 years experience as an immigration.

Cited Sources

Immigration Consequences of Criminal Convictions, November 2010, Office of Immigration Litigation U.S. Dept. of Justice

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