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Deportable crimes and California law

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For non-citizens in the United States, a criminal conviction for a deportable or inadmissible crime under California law can have a negative impact on their immigration status. This is because certain criminal convictions can lead to deportation regardless of how long the non-citizen has resided in the United States.

Certain kinds of criminal convictions for inadmissible crimes can also make an immigrant “inadmissible”, which means one of several things:

  • They cannot become lawful U.S. citizens
  • They cannot apply for permanent residence or adjustment of status
  • They cannot obtain legal immigration status
  • They won’t be allowed to re-enter the U.S. after leaving

In some instances, non-citizens don’t need to be convicted of a deportable or inadmissible crime to get deported. They can be considered deportable or inadmissible under U.S. law for engaging in drug trafficking, prostitution, and other types of conduct even if they have never been convicted for this activity in a California criminal court.

Are you subject to deportation for certain criminal convictions?

In the U.S. the Federal Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) stipulates that non-citizens residing in the country can be deported when convicted of certain kinds of criminal offenses. INA doesn’t discriminate against non-citizens who have been living in the country for a long time or have dependent children and elederly parents. Non-citizens can be deported even if they have strong ties to the U.S., such as having a job, family, business, or property. Lastly, INA doesn’t differentiate between legal and non-legal immigrants.

What kind of criminal offenses can result in deportation?

Not all criminal convictions can lead to the deportation of non-citizens from the U.S. Section 237 of INA specifies the kind of crimes that can get a non-citizen deported. These include:

  • Crimes of moral turpitude (CIMT) – INA doesn’t offer a definition for CIMTs, so California courts have had to interpret them as any crime that involves fraud, dishonesty, and antisocial behavior. These crimes typically include forgery, burglary, arson, and kidnapping. The courts also consider possession of controlled substances for sale and repeated felony convictions due to driving under the influence (DUI) as CIMTs. Non-citizens are deportable if they recieve a sentence of one or more years, are convicted within five years of being admitted to the country, or are convicted of two or more CIMTs on separate crime schemes.
  • Aggravated felonies – These include murder, rape, sexual abuse of a minor, theft with a one year prison sentence or more, fraud totaling at least $10,000, and the operation or supervision of a prostitution business.
  • Controlled substances or drug offenses – Practically all drug offenses in California can lead to deportation.
  • Firearms offenses – Any violation of California gun laws count as CIMTs.
  • Domestic violence crimes – These include domestic battery of a spouse or domestic partner, child abuse, and violations of restraining orders.

Consult with a class action attorney in San Diego, CA

If you are facing legal action for deportable crimes, Hogue & Belong can help you protect your rights as a non-citizen. You can reach Hogue & Belong, Attorneys at Law at 619.238.4720 and inquiries(at)hoguebelonglaw(dotted)com for legal inquiries.