Most people are aware nowadays that there are several different varieties of criminal conviction. However, when dealing with immigration law, the lines blur. It can be a rude awakening to learn that in some instances, even misdemeanors can result in your being declared inadmissible or deportable.
While it is possible to obtain waivers or other decisions that result in your being permitted to stay in the U.S., your best defense against being found deportable is to be aware of what kind of conduct is proscribed.
The Myth of the Aggravated Felony
U.S. immigration law centers around what are referred to as aggravated felonies, though not all the crimes on the list are actual felonies under U.S. criminal law. If you are convicted of an aggravated felony, you are immediately deportable, and in many cases, you will not be permitted to return. Or, you will have to face a long bar before re-entry is possible. The only real characteristic that these crimes share is being on the list that labels them as aggravated felonies–which, as one might imagine, makes it difficult to accurately know what constitutes an aggravated felony and what does not.
At the inception of the relevant law, only violent crimes such as murder and trafficking were on the list. However, the definition has expanded exponentially. Examples of crimes which are often neither aggravated nor felonies under criminal law, but will nonetheless render a non-citizen deportable include:
Options for Deportation Relief
If you have committed a crime you believe to be an aggravated felony, there are very few options for deportation relief. If you are convicted, immigration authorities are required to detain you until preparations can be made for your deportation, and in some cases, authorities may even be able to deport you without a hearing. There are three possibilities under which aggravated felons may be able to obtain deportation relief, though all of them are somewhat farfetched depending on the circumstances of your case.
The first is to apply for what is referred to as withholding of removal. Withholding is available if the crime you were convicted of carries a sentence of less than five years, and it is generally granted to those who can show that they would be “more likely than not” to face persecution if returned to their home country, or who can show a significant risk to their safety. The second possible method of deportation relief is similar; it is to apply under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). CAT relief is granted to those who would more likely than not be subjected to torture if sent back to their country.
The third possibility for deportation relief is farfetched but possible; some waivers are available under Sec. 212(h) of the Immigration & Nationality Act for those who are otherwise eligible for a family-based U.S. green card. These situations are very few and far between, however, as the person must also show extreme and unusual hardship would result from their deportation.
Contact an Immigration Attorney
The specter of being deported is terrifying, especially if you are a person who normally complies with the law. The advice of an experienced attorney can make a world of difference. The skilled DuPage County deportation attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC have years of experience in navigating these complex cases, and are happy to help you determine how best to approach yours. Contact our offices today at 630-932-9100 or complete our web form to set up an appointment.
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