Deportation, also referred to as ‘removal’, occurs when an alien is removed from the United States by the federal government. The Obama administration deported more than 414 thousand unauthorized immigrants in the 2014 fiscal year alone. The causes for removals such as these are often associated with the violation of U.S. immigration laws. Immigrants are typically placed into removal proceedings after evidence is found that they convicted a crime. Any non-citizen, including green card holders, may be deported back to their home country from the U.S.
Deportation for Crime Violations
One of the most common reasons for deportation is a criminal conviction. While not all crimes are grounds for deportation, those relating to violence, drugs, firearm offenses, human trafficking, and the smuggling of illegal aliens into the United States may cause someone to be removed. Other types of crimes may include family or domestic violence, money laundering, fraud, failure to register as a sex offender, and nearly any type of aggravated felony. You can see a complete list of violations in Section 237(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
Crimes of “moral turpitude” may call for removal from the U.S. by the government. These are crimes that refer to any conduct believed to go against community standards of justice, honesty, and good moral values. When convicted of a crime, the court will likely give your crime one of two labels: a “crime of moral turpitude” or an “aggravated felony”. Depending on the state in which you reside, your crime may also be labeled as a “misdemeanor”. Someone can also be removed by conspiring to commit a crime or fraudulent act while in the United States.
Crimes relating to terrorist activity, endangering U.S. public safety, or any attempt to overthrow the U.S. government through violence, force, or any other illegal means are also likely grounds for deportation. Non-U.S. citizens that have been imprisoned in the United States are at high risk for deportation. In many cases, these individuals are detained directly after their release from jail or prison. U.S. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) may also put a “hold” on a release until immigration proceedings are in place.
Deportation for Immigration Violations
Someone who violates immigration laws may be found deportable. If you are in the United States as a non-immigrant on a visa, you must adhere to various conditions during your stay. Failure to abide by said conditions can result in your deportation. For example, tourists in the U.S. are not allowed to work. An employment authorization document (EAD) is required for certain groups of non-immigrants to work in the U.S. If you fail to submit this document you no longer meet the set conditions and you become deportable.
Immigrants can also be deported for more minor violations. Failure to advise U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of a change in address is a crime. Immigrants must submit notifications to the USCIS of any change of address. The deadline is just ten days from the time of the move. Immigrants who receive public assistance within five years of the date of entry into the U.S. are also committing a crime under immigration laws. To receive a green card a person must prove that they will not need to rely on public government assistance to get by.
There are many other situations that could resort in someone being deported from the country. These include being in the United States unlawfully or by overstaying a visa, violating your visa in any way, or having been inadmissible when entering the U.S. If you falsely claim to be a U.S. citizen, you could also be deported. Individuals that received conditional permanent resident status in the past may lose their status. If a conditional permanent resident status is terminated, they may be deportable. If an immigrant’s presence in the U.S. would create serious consequences for the country’s foreign policy, deportation could be a likely possibility.
Deportation for Fraudulent Activities
Fraudulent activities including making misstatements on official immigrant documents can result in deportation. Marriage fraud is a common problem that occurs when an immigrant marries a U.S. citizen as a means of gaining lawful permanent residence or a green card. This scenario is considered fraud or a sham as the two people never actually planned to establish a life together. In cases where a marriage is actually real, submitting false documentation that your assets are greater than they really are can also lead to deportation.
An immigrant who marries a U.S. citizen may obtain a green card if they meet all requirements. However, if a green card holder has the marriage terminated within two years, that person may be deportable. An immigrant may also be deported if they provide false information on any type of legal document, such as an entry document, green card application, or visa or immigration permit. An immigrant may be deported even if the person does not have a prior criminal conviction in the U.S.
In some instances immigrant documents may have errors. While intentional misstatements can be ground for deportation, common errors may not be. To determine if you’ve broken any immigration laws, USCIS will need to determine if your mistake is one of innocence or if you intentionally “forgot” due to selective memory. If you honestly don’t know the answer to a question, it’s better to say “I don’t recall” then to make a wild guess. However, withholding important information can become a problem as immigration agents can spot inconsistencies.
Deportation in the United States
Worries over being deported can create feelings of fear and insecurity in non-U.S. citizens.
Know that even if you become deportable due to any of the specified grounds under the Immigration and Nationality Act, you will not be immediately removed from the United States. Depending on the cause of your possible deportation, you will likely retain the right to have a fair hearing in front of an immigration court. You may also become eligible to obtain a waiver in order to stay in the U.S. If you are facing deportation or removal from the United States, let our experienced team help you today.
Beeraj Patel, Esq.
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