Being arrested is scary. For immigrants, however, the situation may be even more dire.
Immigrants in the United States are expected to follow immigration laws. When they are accused of violating these laws, they may face deportation, even if they are green card holders. One of the most common reasons immigrants are deported is because they have been convicted of a crime. Some crimes are considered to be more serious than others. Specifically, these include offenses that are classified as crimes of moral turpitude and aggravated felonies.
Crimes of Moral Turpitude
U.S. immigration law defines certain crimes as moral turpitude, including some involving fraud, larceny, or an intention to harm a person or destroy property. Crimes that involve theft or deception are nearly always considered crimes of moral turpitude. Domestic violence, aggravated driving under the influence, and assaults are other types of offenses sometimes considered to be crimes of moral turpitude. Many noncitizens convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude are not allowed to post an immigration bond. Most of the time, committing a “crime involving moral turpitude” causes a noncitizen to become inadmissible.
Immigration courts have deemed that a large variety of offenses are considered crimes of moral turpitude. If you have been accused of committing a crime, an immigration attorney can determine whether your crime fits the description of a crime of moral turpitude. An attorney can also analyze the statute outlining the offense you are accused of committing and raise arguments that the elements of the law do not necessarily relate to a crime of moral turpitude.
Another defense to crimes of moral turpitude is when the crime is considered a petty offense. There are several requirements of the “petty offense” exception, but it can be used to avoid the consequences of being found inadmissible for a conviction that would otherwise be a crime involving moral turpitude.
In some cases, a waiver is available under section 212(h) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and can provide a defense to deportation (or a way to obtain permanent residency) due to a crime of moral turpitude. There are certain qualifications that you must meet in order to obtain a waiver of a crime involving moral turpitude. For some older crimes, a noncitizen must prove rehabilitation, and in other cases, the immigrant must prove extreme hardship to a qualifying relative to obtain the waiver of the crime involving moral turpitude ground.
The Immigration and Nationality Act defines many crimes as aggravated felonies. Some examples of these offenses include murder, trafficking drugs or firearms, and sexually abusing a minor. If you have been convicted of an aggravated felony, there is little chance of avoiding deportation. You will not qualify for most waivers, so the best chance is to speak to an immigration attorney who can help.
If You Have Been Convicted of a Crime, You Need the Help of Our Tennessee Immigration Attorneys
Immigrants are often in fear of losing their status, or of facing deportation, particularly when they have been accused of committing a crime. If you have been convicted of a crime, our Nashville immigration lawyers can help. At Ozment Law, PLC, we are passionate about helping immigrants stay in the country and we want to put our experience to work for you. Call us today at (615) 321-8888 or contact us online to discuss your case.