Can I Be Deported for a Past Criminal Conviction?

Facing the possibility of deportation due to a past criminal conviction is a serious concern for many immigrants. But under what circumstances can this happen?


Yes, you can be deported for a past criminal conviction, but the specifics depend on various factors, including the nature of the crime and your immigration status. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Types of Crimes Leading to Deportation:

  • Aggravated Felonies: These are serious crimes that can include murder, drug trafficking, and certain theft or fraud offenses. Conviction of an aggravated felony typically results in deportation.
  • Crimes of Moral Turpitude: These are crimes that involve dishonesty, fraud, or behavior that is considered morally reprehensible, such as theft, assault, or certain drug offenses.
  • Controlled Substance Violations: Any drug-related offense, including possession, sale, or trafficking, can lead to deportation.

2. Impact on Immigration Status:

  • Lawful Permanent Residents (Green Card Holders): Even as a green card holder, you can be deported if convicted of certain crimes, especially if the crime is classified as an aggravated felony or involves moral turpitude.
  • Undocumented Immigrants: Undocumented individuals can face deportation for any criminal conviction, given their unlawful status in the country.

3. Discretionary Factors:

  • Length of Time in the U.S.: Long-term residents may have some leniency, especially if they have strong family ties and a history of good behavior.
  • Family and Community Ties: Strong connections to family and community can be mitigating factors.
  • Rehabilitation Efforts: Evidence of rehabilitation, such as participation in substance abuse programs or community service, can influence deportation decisions.

4. Legal Defenses Against Deportation:

  • Waivers: Certain waivers, such as the 212(c) waiver for long-term residents, can prevent deportation despite a conviction.
  • Appeals: You can appeal a deportation order, and an experienced immigration lawyer can help navigate this complex process.
  • Cancellation of Removal: This form of relief may be available for certain individuals who meet specific criteria, such as having a continuous presence in the U.S. and demonstrating that deportation would cause exceptional hardship to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident family member.

5. Importance of Legal Representation: Navigating the intersection of criminal and immigration law is complex. An experienced immigration lawyer can assess your case, explore all possible defenses, and represent you in immigration court.

For more detailed information on how past criminal convictions can affect your immigration status and potential deportation, visit this comprehensive guide here. This resource provides valuable insights and practical advice to help you understand and manage your legal situation effectively. Don’t miss out on this essential information that could significantly impact your immigration journey.