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Deportation


According to the USCIS, deportation–now called removal is the formal removal of an alien from the United States when the alien has been found removable for violating the immigration laws. Deportation is ordered by an immigration judge without any punishment being imposed or contemplated. Prior to April 1997 deportation and exclusion were separate removal procedures. The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 consolidated these procedures. After April 1, 1997, aliens in and admitted to the United States may be subject to removal based on deportability.

Common grounds for deportation from the United States include (but are not limited to):

  • Criminal Convictions
  • Unlawful Entry
  • Fraud

Criminal Convictions


If you are not a United States citizen, a criminal conviction can have especially devastating consequences, including deportation, inadmissibility, and denial of naturalization. These consequences can remain unknown for years until a notice from immigration authorities arrives or citizenship is denied. In other cases, the consequences are immediately known as the defendant is taken into Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody upon release from jail or prison.

These consequences can apply to any non-citizen, not just undocumented immigrants. This include legal permanent residents (“green card” holders), holders of student or work visas, or refugees.

What crimes can get a person deported?

A non-citizen who is convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude can be removed from the United States. There is not set statutory definition for a crime involving moral turpitude. Instead, the definition has emerged and evolved in court decisions over the years.

California courts have found the following offenses to be crimes of moral turpitude:

However, California courts have found that the following offenses are not crimes of moral turpitude: assault without a deadly weapon, child endangerment, indecent exposure, and involuntary manslaughter.

A conviction for a crime of moral turpitude does not result in deportation unless the offense has a potential prison sentence of one year or more and the conviction occurred within five years of admission to the U.S., or there are two convictions for crimes of moral turpitude that do not arise from the same scheme.

Unlawful Entry


A non-citizen who entered the U.S. unlawfully can be deported often by expedited removal, without hearing in under 24 hours after being in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (also known as ICE) officers.

An individual is in the U.S. unlawfully if:

  • The individual entered or attempted to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers
  • The individual eludes examination or inspection by immigration officers
  • The individual attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact
  • The individual knowingly enters into a marriage for the purpose of evading any provision of the immigration laws 
  • The individual knowingly establishes a commercial enterprise for the purpose of evading any provision of the immigration laws

Fraud


Numerous acts involving fraud may be grounds for deportation which includes (but not limited to):

  • Fraudulent marriage in order to obtain a green card;
  • Assuming the identity of a deceased person to apply for passports
  • Using phony support documents, such as fake birth certificates
  • Using stolen and altered passports
  • Concealing facts that would disqualify one from getting a visa, like a criminal history in the alien’s home country
  • The sale, trafficking, or transfer of otherwise legitimate visas
  • Misrepresenting the reasons for requiring a visa
  • Counterfeiting, forgery, or alteration of a visa

An exception is that the non-citizen represented him- or herself in good faith to be a citizen and:

  1. The non-citizen’s parents were U.S. citizens, and
  2. The non-citizen permanently resided in the United States before reaching the age of 16

Non-citizens who do not fit into this category may still be able to obtain a waiver of removal if there is proof that they were a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) and the benefit was for the sole purpose of aiding the person’s spouse or child.

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Common Defenses Against Deportation


  • Asylum: Must establish fear of persecution if returned to home country. Granted asylum leads to Lawful Permanent Residency; granted W/R leads to temporary lawful status only. Commonly-faced issues in asylum: (1) 1-year filing deadline, (2) persecution must be because of race, religion, national origin, political views, or social group.
  • Withholding of Removal: Withholding of removal is a special type of order issued by an immigration judge to a person who demonstrates more than a 50% chance that they will be persecuted in their home country on account of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Like asylum, withholding of removal protects a person from being deported to a country where they fear persecution. However, withholding of removal is a very limited benefit in many ways.
  • Relief under the U.N. Convention Against Torture: Also known as "CAT". To obtain CAT protection, the non-citizen has to prove that he or she would be tortured if they return home. Evidence such as news articles and medical reports need to be presented to establish the types of torture the non-citizen has suffered at home (if any), the types of torture his or her relatives or friends have suffered (if any), that there are groups of people in similar situation that were tortured and anything that would prove that they are likely to get tortured again upon returning home.
  • Cancellation of Removal: Cancellation of removal is a form of relief to non-citizens facing deportation. This means that there needs to be an open case of removal proceedings in the Immigration Court for an individual to be able to apply. Green card-holders may be eligible for cancellation of removal if they (1) have had green cards for five years, (2) have been living legally in the U.S. for seven years, and have no convictions for that would render them inadmissible or deportable. Non-Lawful Permanent residents may also be eligible if they (1) have been physically on U.S. soil for at least ten years; (2) are of good moral character; (3) have not been convicted of an offense under related sections described in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA); (4) can demonstrate that removal would cause hardship to his/her spouse, parent, or child, who is a U.S. citizen or green card-holder.
  • Adjustment of Status: Non-citizens who entered the U.S. unlawfully can still adjust their status as long as a relative has filed an I-130 petition for them.

If none of the above applies to you or someone you know facing deportation, do not worry, there are several options available to stop removal or deportation. Call our office at 877-375-8188 and speak to a highly-experienced immigration attorney regarding your case.

Next Steps


If you or a loved one has received an NTA (Notice to Appear), which includes details of where and when the immigration hearing is, call an Immigration Attorney right away. You will need an attorney to represent you as immigration law is extremely confusing, and any errors can lead to deportation.

Call Moaddel Law Firm at (877) 375-8188 for a free consultation with the best immigration attorneys in California.