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Last Updated on: 20th August 2023, 02:39 am
An Overview of Deportation Laws for Immigrants in New York City
Immigration laws are complicated, no matter where in the country you live. In New York City, as in the rest of the country, specific rules allow the government to deport an immigrant who has committed crimes. However, since not all law violations will result in deportation, it’s essential to have a clearer picture of the deportation laws from an immigrant’s perspective. By learning these law facts, you’ll be better equipped to avoid those circumstances that can result in criminal deportation.
Crimes of Moral Turpitude Can Result in Deportation
When it comes to criminal deportation, committing what the government calls “crimes of moral turpitude” is a significant reason many immigrants get deported. To avoid those consequences, it’s essential to understand precisely what “crimes of moral turpitude” are meant under the law. While the country’s immigration laws don’t define what this term means, the U.S. Department of State has set out some guidelines to provide a general understanding.
Expressly, the guidelines set forth by the Department of State declare that any acts that involve “fraud, larceny, and intent to harm persons or things” are to be considered crimes of moral turpitude. In more general terms, any crime that includes theft or acts of dishonesty will fall into this category. Other crimes often included under this heading are acts of assault, with intent to rob or kill a victim. Acts of domestic violence and abuse and aggravated driving under the influence are also commonly viewed as crimes of moral turpitude.
While this suggests that many offenses can be considered crimes of moral turpitude, the laws do allow for exemptions from this classification. In cases where the crimes committed can be classified as petty offenses, the acts may be excused as crimes of moral turpitude. For this purpose, a minor offense is considered any crime that couldn’t carry a penalty of more than one year of imprisonment. Additionally, the individual must not have served more than six months in prison.
Examples of petty crimes include:
- Simple assault
Also, some DUI cases may be classified as petty, where the incident didn’t include driving without a license and where there wasn’t property damage or injuries to other parties.
Just because you may have committed a crime of moral turpitude, that doesn’t automatically put you into the deportation process. Extenuating circumstances will determine how your case will be handled in terms of your immigration status. You may be subject to removal or deportation, where you have been in the country for five years or less. Additionally, you will likely be subject to deportation if you have committed two or more crimes of moral turpitude. This means those crimes were not stemming from the same incident or as the result of a single scheme for criminal enterprise.
Aggravated Felonies and Other Crimes
Even in cases where you may not have committed an act that’s considered to be a crime of moral turpitude, other offenses may result in deportation proceedings. For instance, any crime considered an aggravated felony will likely result in the removal process. The exact crimes are extensive and listed under the Immigration and Nationality Act at I.N.A. § 101(a)(43). Some of the more commonly committed crimes under this category are:
- Trafficking of drugs or weapons
- Sexual abuse or assault of a minor
- Money laundering
In general, any violent crime that carries a penalty of more than one year in prison can be considered an aggravated felony.
Unlike crimes of moral turpitude, aggravated felonies almost always result in criminal deportation without exception. The only possibility to avoid this consequence is to show that returning to your native country would result in your torture. Individuals deported for committing an aggravated felony will not be granted a waiver to return to the United States.
There are still other crimes that can result in deportation when committed by an immigrant. While the extensive list is supplied under Section 237 of the Immigration and Naturalization Act, it should be noticed that crimes of moral turpitude and those acts considered aggravated felonies may overlap. Some of these crimes include:
- The sale or possession of illegal drugs
- Acts of terrorism
- Human trafficking
- Child abuse or neglect
If you have been charged with a crime and you are an immigrant, you should first contact an attorney specializing in immigration law. An experienced legal advocate can help you determine your risk of deportation and may be able to take steps to help you prevent it. An experienced lawyer is your best chance of defending yourself in court, regardless of your citizenship status.
When you are dealt with a deportation and removal case, you are facing one of the most complex immigration issues in New York. In these cases, an individual who has been issued a removal proceeding notice must appear before the Immigration Court and state why he or she should be awarded relief from deportation and removal from the United States. This is why a New York City deportation attorney is imperative. A deportation lawyer can examine the facts that surround your case and determine if you are eligible for any immigration relief benefits.
Although there are many individuals who are eligible for relief from deportation, there are some who are not, which is why it is important to consult with an attorney if you have been served with a Notice to Appear. An attorney can advise you on the best options when it comes to deportation proceedings and can help you choose the most effective approach.
How Will I Know if I’ll be Deported?
If you have been convicted of a certain criminal offense, you are at risk of being deported. Some of the criminal offenses that warrant deportation from the United States include:
Drug offenses (possession or sale)
Crimes involving moral turpitude
Possession of a deadly weapon
If you have been charged and/or convicted of any of these crimes, your best course of action is to speak with a criminal deportation defense attorney. It is important to note that any crimes of moral turpitude that occur within five years of entering the United States, which lead to a one year prison sentence, could warrant deportation. In addition, if an individual is charged with two crimes that occur in more than one criminal act, he or she could also face deportation.
How can I Prevent Deportation?
When an individual is subject to deportation, there may be specific factors that could warrant relief from deportation. In these circumstances, forms that are known as waivers of deportation or other forms can be issued to request relief from deportation. Some of these waivers include:
Adjustment of Status
Suspension of deportation
Waivers under INA § 212(c)
Waivers under INA § 212(h) and INA § 212(i)
Cancellation of deportation or removal
In addition, asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under Article 3 of United Nations Convention Against Torture can also be used for deportation relief eligibility.
How to Prepare for a Deportation Case
If an individual is eligible for relief from deportation, it does not mean that he or she will the case. In these cases, there is never a guarantee that an individual will win. There are a numerous factors that an immigration judge must take into consideration before he or she decides if an individual is eligible to remain in the United States.
Although there are many factors that immigration judges will take into consideration when deciding if an individual is eligible for deportation relief, here are some of the most common factors:
How long the individual has lived in the United States without or with a green card.
All immediate family members, which are typically spouses, parents, or children, who are United States citizens with green cards. In these situations, the more family members in the country is beneficial because it shows that an individual has a family established in the country.
An individual’s employment history. If an individual can prove steady employment, he or she is demonstrating that they are not a liability to another individual.
Any history of tax payment will be considered, which is why it is vital for individuals to pay their taxes regardless of if they are in the country legally or illegally. If an individual does not have a social security number, he or she can obtain an IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (if they are not able to get a social security number).
If an individual is involved with a church, volunteers, or helps the community in any other way, it will be considered for relief.
Any history of violation of immigration laws.
A criminal history that includes jail sentences and/or convictions.
Any hardships that would occur to family members if an individual is deported.
Why You Need a Skilled Legal Team
To ensure that all of your rights are protected, it is vital to contact a New York City deportation attorney. An attorney with experience handling deportation cases understands what approach needs to be taken to accomplish the best outcome. The results of a deportation hearing can be life-altering, which is why you should have a deportation attorney at your side every step of the way.