Grounds of Removal/Deportation
Deportation and removal are terms used to describe the process of forcing a non-citizen to leave the United States. There are different crimes or violations an individual can commit that will classify him as “removable.” However, this is not automatic. Generally, these non-citizens will receive a deportation hearing with an immigration judge in order to determine whether the deportation will actually be ordered.
When a non-citizen is going through deportation proceedings, he will be provided with certain rights during this process. To begin with, the non-citizen has the ability to retain legal counsel, but it will not be provided for him for free. For example, there is no such thing as a public defender in immigration court. The proceedings will take place at the non-citizen's place of residence or in the location of the non-citizen's arrest.
During the deportation hearing, the judge has the discretion to determine the non-citizen's deportability and will ascertain the non-citizen's country of origin. The judge conducts the hearing and will grant continuances when necessary. If needed, the government will provide an interpreter for the parties during the hearing.
Common Reasons for Removal
While there are many reasons why someone may find himself subject to deportation proceedings in immigration court, the most common grounds for removal include:
- Inadmissible at Time of Entry: Put simply, this means that if you were inadmissible at the time of your entry, you are now likely to be deportable.
- Criminal Offenses: First, a non-citizen can trigger deportation proceedings if he has committed a crime that is considered to be one of moral turpitude. Deportation proceedings can also begin if an individual has been convicted of multiple crimes or an aggravated felony. Furthermore, certain violations related to firearms and controlled substances can also lead to deportation proceedings.
- Failure to Register/Falsification of Documents: While it sounds severe, you can legally be deported if you fail to update your address within ten days of moving with the U.S.C.I.S (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services). Any tampering or misuse of visas or other immigration documents may lead to deportation as well.
- Security Issues: Any engagement in either espionage or sabotage against the United States can lead to deportation.
- Economic Issues: If you become a public charge of the government because of ongoing issues apparent prior to your admission, you can be deported.
As listed above, a non-citizen who was previously admitted or paroled into the U.S. can be subject to deportation proceedings based on criminal offenses. However, the types of crimes vary and each have distinct features:
- Crimes of Moral Turpitude: In order for a non-citizen, previously admitted or paroled into the U.S., to be deported because of a crime involving moral turpitude, he must have been convicted of the crime within five years after the date of entry for a crime that carried a potential sentence of confinement of one year or longer. To be considered a crime of “moral turpitude,” the offense must go against general community standards or morals.
- Multiple Criminal Convictions: A conviction of two or more crimes involving moral turpitude at any point after entry will result in the non-citizen becoming deportable. However, this is only true if the convictions did not arise out of the same scheme or plan.
- Aggravated felonies will also trigger deportation proceedings. These offenses include, but not limited to: murder, trafficking in controlled substances, money laundering, and certain prostitution crimes.
Do You Need an Attorney?
If you or a loved one are facing deportation proceedings, contact an experienced immigration attorney today. The professionals at the Law Offices of Matthew H. Green are available to answer your questions and help you through this difficult process.