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How Do You Become Deportable?

By Michael J. Spychalski
Bailey and Galyen

July 2, 2012

There are many grounds for removal/deportation in many different categories. Removability and deportability mean the same thing.

If you are inadmissible at your time of entry into the country, you are deportable. A person who violates his or her nonimmigration status, such as a visitor or student, or conditions of entry is deportable. Any alien who has helped smuggle another alien across the border is removable. Also, those who have received a visa or other documentation on the basis of a fraudulent marriage are deportable.

Many specific criminal offenses make one deportable. An alien who has committed a crime of moral turpitude may be deportable. There is not a specific statute that defines what a crime of moral turpitude is. However, it is defined on a case-by-case basis. It is an act which is intrinsically wrong. The most common example is theft. Those convicted of multiple crimes or an aggravated felony (for example, murder, drug trafficking or theft, in which the term of imprisonment is more than one year) may be deportable. Drug abusers or addicts, and those who violate controlled substances laws or regulations may be deportable. Those who commit certain firearms offenses or domestic violence crimes may be deportable. Of course, anyone who has engaged in acts of espionage, sabotage or terrorism against the United States, or any alien whose presence the Secretary of State has reason to believe would have a serious adverse foreign policy consequence is deportable.

There are other grounds of deportability that are not as common. Any alien who becomes a public charge, which means those aliens who end up on welfare from causes existing prior to admission into the country, may be deportable. Any alien who voted in an election in violation of the law is removable. Also, anyone who violated a prior deportation order is removable.

Just because an alien is deportable does not necessarily mean that he or she will be deported. There are a number of ways to fight your case in immigration court, but they are all discretionary with the immigration judge. It is important for criminal attorneys to check with immigration attorneys before pleading to a criminal charge.

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