Immigration Status Are Often Affected by Criminal Convictions

When someone has finally received their Green Card and is peacefully residing in California or another state, they may believe their path to immigration is clear. Unfortunately, this is not always the case for everyone. What many do not know is that it is possible to be forcibly removed from America for violating either an immigration or criminal law. If an individual is deported, he or she may not be able to ever return to the country, even as a visitor.

Committing an aggravated felony, getting convicted of a non-felony crime or a crime involving moral turpitude can carry serious penalties for permanent residents. An aggravated felony for the purpose of immigration law is different from that in criminal law, and can even include crimes that are generally considered misdemeanors. While previously only serious crimes such as murder and drug trafficking were included in this list, now theft, filing a fraudulent tax return and a failure to appear in court can also become deportable offenses.

A crime of moral turpitude is one which the court deems has violated the moral standards of the community in question. While there is no definitive list, courts have considered wire fraud, tax evasion, child abuse and carrying a concealed weapon as such crimes.

A permanent resident might be deported from the country and lose the ability to live with his or her family in the country they struggled to create a life in. it is important to understand how one’s permanent visa will be affected by actions that might seem unconnected to immigration law. Consulting an experienced attorney and keeping abreast with changing laws can prove helpful in ensuring one can achieve their immigration objective.

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Sweta Khandelwal

Sweta completed her Masters in Law from the University of California, Los Angeles and her JD from the Faculty of Law, Delhi University in India and has been practicing law for 15+ years getting visas, green cards, and citizenship for 1000+ clients, 100+ companies across 50+ nationalities.

Sweta has been recognized as a ” Super Lawyer, Rising Star,” and as amongst the ” Top 40 under 40″ immigration attorneys in California (American Society of Legal Advocates). She is also the recipient of the Advocacy Award by the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Sweta is also a chartered accountant — the equivalent of a CPA. This makes her uniquely positioned to understand the immigration needs of her business clients in the broader context of their corporate objectives.

Sweta is actively involved with immigration issues and immigrant communities in various capacities. She has assumed key roles at the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), both at the local and national level. She has been a past chair at the Santa Clara Valley Chapter at AILA and has also been involved in various practice area committees at AILA National. Sweta has addressed multiple conferences/forums in the United States and worldwide on immigration and business issues.

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