In most jurisdictions here in the U.S., there are two types of felony crimes: Both “simple” offenses and “aggravated” ones.
There are at least 30 crimes that now fall into the category of aggravated felonies. Some of these include battery, theft, robbery, murder and statutory rape. If you aren’t a U.S. citizen, a conviction for one of these offenses could result in your deportation — after you serve time in prison.
Do aggravated felony convictions always result in deportation?
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) outlines who is subject to deportation from the U.S. Many of 30 offenses that qualify as aggravated felonies make the list. So too do other moral turpitude offenses, such as the failure to file a tax return, fraud and other white-collar crimes.
Anyone who hasn’t yet become a lawful permanent resident (LPR) may face deportation without immigration officials even first scheduling a hearing to hear a defendant’s side of the story. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) generally doesn’t offer convicted immigrants an opportunity to appeal their case, apply for asylum or refugee status or any other type of discretionary relief.
How soon do deportations occur post-conviction?
Deportations may occur as quickly as two weeks after a judge enters an order.
You could face up to 20 years of incarceration if you were to try to re-enter the country unlawfully following your deportation and get caught. There’s an off-chance that you may be able to apply for a U.S. Department of Homeland Security waiver to reenter the country, but it’s not guaranteed.
Your ability to remain in this country is contingent, in part, upon you maintaining a clean criminal record. Your only chance for doing so if you’re currently facing charges is to put up an aggressive defense.