In February, a top Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) official admitted that the department has turned its attention to undocumented immigrants who commit crimes in the U.S. These people are first in line to be deported.
But the reality is that you don't need to be undocumented to be deported for a crime. The U.S. can revoke your green card or work visa if you are convicted of a specific type of crime even though you are legally in the country.
Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, certain convictions make aliens ineligible for admission into the United States. This includes convictions for drug offenses, sex offenses, fraud, theft, aggravated felonies, weapons possession, crimes of moral turpitude and domestic violence. Many crimes punishable by more than one year of confinement are also part of this list.
Just because you're already in the U.S., it doesn't mean that this law does not apply to you. It does. If you are in the U.S. legally, you can still lose your status. Immigration officials may choose to revoke your green card or work visa if they are notified of your conviction. This also means you can be deported for the crime.
Moreover, a conviction will hamper an immigrant's ability to stay in this country permanently. People who apply for citizenship or permanent resident status may be denied if they have a criminal record.
The reality is that U.S. citizens are the only individuals who can safely commit a crime and remain in this country. All immigrants, legal or not, can be deported for a crime if it's serious enough.
- Deportation (FindLaw)
- Deportation and Removal (FindLaw)
- Supreme Court Rules Against Deportation for Minor Crimes (FindLaw's Decided)