Immigration Consequences of a Conviction
Anyone arrested, charged, or convicted of a crime faces severe repercussions. Unfortunately, non-U.S. citizens face potential consequences to their immigration status on top of statutory criminal punishments. Immigration consequences that non-citizens may face involve ineligibility for naturalization, mandatory detention, and more.
If you or a loved one face criminal charges as a non-citizen, it’s highly encouraged that you secure legal counsel as soon as possible. At The Umansky Law Firm, our criminal defense lawyers have extensive experience in immigration cases. Schedule a free consultation and acquire the advantage you need to avoid the immigration consequences of your charges.
Inadmissibility vs. Deportation: What’s the Difference?
Procedures used to establish whether the government can remove immigrants from the United States are defined under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). In general, immigrants are entitled to formal proceedings before immigration judges. However, depending on the circumstances, some are not eligible for any hearing and may be removed from the country.
There are usually two types of potential actions:
- Inadmissibility: This is the authority of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to prevent illegal immigration to the U.S. It typically applies to those the USCIS cites as aliens or individuals who are not nationals or citizens of the U.S.
- Deportability: This is the authority of USCIS to remove individuals who legally immigrated to the U.S. Examples include lawful permanent residents (also called LPRs, permanent resident aliens, or green card holders) who are living in the U.S. under lawfully recorded permanent residence but are not officially U.S. citizens and nonimmigrants who were admitted to the U.S. for specific periods with specific conditions on their stays.
What Crimes Are Grounds for Inadmissibility in the United States?
No matter where the crime was committed, a criminal charge can significantly impact your immigration status if you’re a non-citizen. Some convictions can disqualify you for re-entry into the country if the guilty plea proves that you were a danger to the nation.
If you are convicted for any of the following crimes as a non-citizen, it may be grounds for inadmissibility in the United States:
- Possessing, manufacturing, or selling controlled substances
- Drug trafficking or aiding, assisting, or conspiring to collude with others in drug trafficking
- Human trafficking
- Engaging in prostitution within ten years of the date of application for a visa or adjustment of status
- Acquiring or attempting to obtain prostitutes
- Money laundering
- Perpetrating severe violations of religious freedom as a foreign government representative
- Seeking entry in the U.S. to violate U.S. laws regarding espionage, sabotage, or the export of prohibited goods, technology, or sensitive information
- Committing terrorist activities
What Criminal Convictions Could Get You Deported in the U.S.?
A non-citizen convicted of certain crimes can face automatic deportation. According to the U.S. Code, both crimes involving moral turpitude (CIMT) and aggravated felonies are justifications for deportation.
A CIMT is essentially a crime that’s committed recklessly or with evil intent. A CIMT shocks the public as innately vile, depraved, or against the responsibilities owed between people or to society as a whole. These crimes include murder, rape, and kidnapping.
Aggravated felonies are listed under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) at INA § 101(a)(43). If convicted for any of the following crimes as a non-citizen, you may face deportation:
- Sexual abuse, rape, or murder of a minor
- Illicit trafficking in a controlled substance
- Illegal trafficking in firearms or destructive devices
- Laundering of monetary instruments
- Offenses related to explosive materials and firearms
- Crimes of violence for which the imprisonment term is at least a year
- Theft or burglary offenses for which the imprisonment term is at least a year
- Demanding or receiving ransom
- Child pornography
- Racketeering or gambling offenses for which the imprisonment term is at least a year
- Prostitution crimes
- Gathering or transmitting classified or national defense information
- Crimes involving fraud, deceit, or tax evasion in which the loss to the victim exceeds $10,000
- Alien smuggling
- Illegal entry or reentry of an alien who was previously deported based on a conviction for an aggravated felony
- Passport or document fraud for which the imprisonment term is at least a year
- Failure to appear for service of sentence in which the underlying offense is punishable by imprisonment for at least five years
- Commercial bribery, counterfeiting, forgery, or trafficking in vehicles where the identification numbers have been altered
- Obstruction of justice, perjury, or bribery of a witness
- Failure to appear in court, answer to or dispose of a felony charge for which the sentence was two years’ imprisonment
- Attempt or conspiracy to commit an aggravated felony
Other Deportable Crimes for Non-Citizens
Other crimes that can make a non-citizen deportable under the INA that aren’t considered aggressive felonies include:
- Drug crimes
- Illegal firearms sales or possession
- Domestic violence
- Child abuse or neglect
- Human trafficking
- Terrorist activity
Other Immigration Consequences for a Criminal Conviction in the U.S.
While inadmissibility and deportation are the most frequent immigration consequences of a criminal conviction, there are other potential implications of a guilty plea. Depending on the specific crime a non-citizen pleads guilty to, they could face the following immigration consequences:
- Mandatory detention
- Restrictions on readmission to the U.S.
- Disqualified for naturalization
- Prohibited from pursuing judicial review of orders of removal
- Summary removal procedures
- Enhanced penalties for illegal re-entry
Speak with a Criminal Lawyer About Immigration Consequences in Orlando
If you or a loved one is not yet a legal U.S. citizen and faces criminal charges of any kind in Florida, it is imperative for you to have skilled legal representation. The Umansky Law Firm’s team of criminal defense attorneys has more than 100 years of combined experience advocating for clients throughout Central Florida. Schedule a free consultation to speak with an accomplished criminal defense lawyer experienced in immigration law about your issue by completing a contact form or call our office.