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Common Crimes Making Visa or Green Card Holders Deportable

Most immigrants come to the United States in search of a better life. For them, it is a nation of opportunity and dreams. As such, visa and green card holders make significant contributions to the nation’s economy as well as its culture. However, it’s important to realize that these rights come with obligations, such as abiding by US laws.

Three common crimes can make visa or green card holders deportable: theft, burglary, and assault. Committing such crimes can lead to serious repercussions, including deportation. Below are the legal aspects, potential consequences, and valuable insights into how individuals can navigate these challenges.

Theft

Theft is a crime that involves unlawfully taking someone else’s property with the intent to permanently deprive them of it. In immigration law, theft can have severe consequences for non-U.S. citizens. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), theft crimes fall under the category of “crimes of moral turpitude.” These are considered crimes that reflect poorly on an individual’s moral character.

Consequences:

  • Theft convictions can render an individual deportable if they are found guilty of a crime of moral turpitude within five years of admission and the crime carries a potential sentence of one year or more.
  • Aggravated felony theft offenses, such as those involving violence or theft of more than $10,000, can result in mandatory deportation, with limited opportunities for relief.

It’s important for a green card or visa holder facing theft charges to consult with an immigration attorney to explore potential defenses or plea options that may mitigate the immigration consequences.

Burglary

Burglary involves unlawfully entering a structure with the intent to commit a crime inside, typically theft or another felony. It is considered a serious offense in both criminal and immigration law.

Consequences:

  • Burglary is classified as a crime involving moral turpitude, making individuals deportable if they are convicted of such a crime within five years of admission.
  • Aggravated felony burglary offenses, such as those involving violence or the use of a weapon, can result in mandatory deportation.

In some cases, individuals may be able to avoid deportation by proving that their burglary conviction does not meet the criteria for a crime involving moral turpitude or by demonstrating rehabilitation.

Assault

Assault encompasses a range of offenses involving intentional physical harm or the threat of harm to another person. Depending on the severity and circumstances of the assault, it can have varying immigration consequences.

Consequences:

  • Simple assault offenses may not necessarily lead to deportation, as they may not be considered crimes involving moral turpitude.
  • Aggravated assault offenses, especially those involving serious bodily injury, can result in deportation, especially if they fall under the category of crimes involving moral turpitude.

Note that self-defense, lack of intent, or other defenses can be crucial in determining the immigration consequences of an assault conviction.

 

Visa and green card holders enjoy many privileges in the United States, but they must also abide by the laws of the land. Committing certain crimes, such as theft, burglary, and assault, can lead to severe consequences, including deportation. It is necessary for individuals facing criminal charges to seek legal counsel. An experienced immigration attorney can help them understand their options and potential defenses.  Legal representation can also minimize the potential effects of their actions.

Navigating the complex intersection of criminal and immigration law can be challenging. However, with proper guidance and support, individuals can responsibly handle legal issues while striving to maintain their immigration status in the United States.

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