The Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

7 Crimes Which Can Get Legal Immigrants Deported

In light of Justin Bieber's recent DUI arrest and those arguing for his deportation, what crimes can get legal immigrants deported?

Like Bieber, who's allegedly in the States on an O-1 performer's visa, the Los Angeles Times reports, other non-citizens who are lawfully in the country could face immigration issues if they commit a crime here.

People convicted of the seven following types of crime may face deportation as well as be prevented from re-entering the country:

1. Crimes of moral turpitude. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, immigrants can be deported for committing crimes of moral turpitude that result in at least a one-year prison sentence. Crimes of moral turpitude are ones that violate the accepted moral standards of the community, including tax evasion, child abuse, and wire fraud.

2. Committing aggravated felonies. Aggravated felonies can include crimes of violence and other serious crimes that are punishable by a year or more in prison. Aggravated felonies range from murder to theft to drug trafficking.

3. Convictions involving drugs. Being convicted of possessing or using drugs can result in deportation of legal immigrants. Drug possession can arguably be considered a crime of moral turpitude. They may also involve aggravated felonies if the drug charge is in connection with a trafficking conviction. However, there's one exception: if a legal immigrant is in simple possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana and has no prior drug convictions, then it's unlikely that he or she will be automatically deported.

4. Domestic violence. Convictions of domestic violence will very likely be considered either a crime of moral turpitude or an aggravated felony for immigration purposes. Grave offenses against the family, like domestic violence charges, generally violate a community's moral standards and could result in more than a year in prison, so immigrants may be deported based on a DV conviction.

5. Failure to appear in court on a serious felony charge. Failing to appear in court can be a serious crime that results in a judge issuing an arrest warrant or jail time. It's important for legal immigrants who are scheduled to appear in court to scout out the location of the courthouse beforehand. The address of the courthouse can almost always be found on a citation or court summons.

6. Committing marriage fraud. Legal immigrants engaged in marriage fraud are risking deportation. To determine whether the marriage occurred solely for visa purposes, courts will look to see if the couple has joint bank accounts, authentic marriage licenses, and other evidence of a legitimate relationship -- not to mention interviewing the couple.

7. Violating immigration status terms. Whether an immigrant has a green card, F visa, or B-1 visa, violating the rules of any type of visa or authenticating document of one's immigration status can result in an automatic deportation.

These are just seven general crimes which can get legal immigrants deported. For more detailed information, contact a skilled immigration attorney in Los Angeles.

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