Each year, thousands of foreigners move to the United States in pursuit of opportunities. If you are an immigrant living in the United States on a visa, you may enjoy a range of rights and privileges as an American citizen. However, a criminal conviction can ruin your American dream.
Until you become a naturalized citizen of the U.S, a criminal conviction can result in your removal from the country. However, it is important to understand that not all convictions carry deportation as a consequence for otherwise legal immigrants.
The Immigration and Nationality Act outlines the crimes that can trigger your removal from the U.S. Here are some of these crimes:
Crimes of moral turpitude
The immigration law does not expressly specify what amounts to a crime of moral turpitude. However, a crime of moral turpitude generally refers to a reckless offense that is committed with evil or malicious intent. These crimes usually involve dishonesty and can be shocking in nature. Examples of crimes of moral turpitude include perjury, embezzlement, fraud and other theft crimes. Others include rape, murder, burglary, criminal threats and child abuse.
Any conviction that involves controlled substances can automatically result in your deportation from the United States. These offenses include drug manufacturing, distributing or trafficking. Certain drug possessions also fall under this category.
Crimes that involve domestic violence
A conviction for domestic violence will potentially earn you deportation from the country. Crimes that fall under domestic violence include child abuse, stalking, abandonment, child neglect as well as an act of violence against a current or ex-spouse, cohabiting partner or co-partner.
The potential consequences of a criminal conviction can be far-reaching if you are an immigrant. Find out how you can defend yourself and protect your rights if you are charged with a crime.