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Is my immigration status affected by criminal convictions?

When someone has finally received their Green Card and is peacefully residing in California or another state, they may believe their path to immigration is clear. Unfortunately, this is not always the case for everyone. What many do not know is that it is possible to be forcibly removed from America for violating either an immigration or criminal law. If an individual is deported, he or she may not be able to ever return to the country, even as a visitor.

Committing an aggravated felony, getting convicted of a non-felony crime or a crime involving moral turpitude can carry serious penalties for permanent residents. An aggravated felony for the purpose of immigration law is different from that in criminal law, and can even include crimes that are generally considered misdemeanors. While previously only serious crimes such as murder and drug trafficking were included in this list, now theft, filing a fraudulent tax return and a failure to appear in court can also become deportable offenses.

A crime of moral turpitude is one which the court deems has violated the moral standards of the community in question. While there is no definitive list, courts have considered wire fraud, tax evasion, child abuse and carrying a concealed weapon as such crimes.

A permanent resident might be deported from the country and lose the ability to live with his or her family in the country they struggled to create a life in. it is important to understand how one's permanent visa will be affected by actions that might seem unconnected to immigration law. Consulting an experienced attorney and keeping abreast with changing laws can prove helpful in ensuring one can achieve their immigration objective.

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