Can I be deported if I am convicted of a crime?
It is not unusual for many immigrants to have concerns about when and why the United States government may choose to deport them, especially if they are here illegally. One of the most common questions asked by immigrants is, "Can I be deported if I am convicted of a crime?"
Yes, you can. But whether or not you will be deported depends on the crime. For instance, if you are arrested and convicted of a misdemeanor, and it is the first one you have committed, you may not be deported. If, however, you have committed an aggravated felony, you may be deported.
What types of crimes can lead to my deportation?
Immigration law outlines the type of crimes which could lead to your deportation under 8 U.S.C. §1 101(a)(43). Aggravated felonies include the following crimes:
- Gambling with a year long sentence
- Racketeering with a year long sentence
- Money laundering of more than $10,000
- Buying and selling guns or explosives
- Raping or sexually assaulting a minor
- Buying and selling drugs
- Violent crime with at least a year long sentence
- Burglary with a year long sentence
- Child pornography
- Fraud or deceit worth over $10,000
- Tax evasion worth over $10,000
- Smuggling undocumented individuals, except your family members
- Obstruction of justice, perjury or bribery of a witness with a sentence of at least 1 year
- Conspiracy to commit any action listed above
- Failure to appear in court for a felony charge
- Failure to appear to serve a sentence for a crime if the underlying offense is punishable by imprisonment for a term of 5 years or more
- Illegal entry or reentry after a deportation based on an aggravated felony
- Document fraud with a sentence of at least 1 year
Keep in mind, an immigration judge can use their discretion to decide if you should be deported for a specific crime. For instance, if you are a drug addict, if you commit certain drug crimes (not necessarily listed above) or you commit crimes of moral turpitude (within five years from the date you entered the United States) you could be deported even if the crimes are not specifically listed in the law. Crimes of moral turpitude can include rape, sex crimes, murder, and voluntary manslaughter.
Other reasons you could be deported
Consider, there are many reasons you could be deported. There are common crimes that can lead to deportation, most of which are identified above, but there are also other common actions which can lead to lead to deportation such as outstaying your visa or committing marriage fraud.
Additionally, you can also be deported if you commit any action which threatens the security of the United States (treason, terrorism, sabotage, and espionage).
Talk to a lawyer if you are facing deportation for any reason.
If you are in the United States legally you should be able to get a Social Security card, although having a Social Security card does not necessarily guarantee you the right to work.