“Deportable Crimes” in California
Not all types of criminal convictions lead to deportation from the US. INA under section 237 lists down some crimes that make an immigrant deportable. The primary category includes
- Moral turpitude crimes
- Aggravated felonies
- Controlled substances offenses
- Domestic Violence
- Firearm offenses
Moral Turpitude Crimes
Moral Turpitude Crimes are often hard to define. However, the Court determines it as any crime or misdemeanor that involves,
- Antisocial behavior
California’s Court further divides the list and includes the following offenses in moral turpitude;
- Repeated crime convictions for DUI ( immigration consequences of driving under the influence are complicated and need an experienced immigration attorney to address)
- Possession and sale o of drugs
Moreover, a single crime conviction (included in moral turpitude) does not make an immigrant deportable. If a non-citizen is denotable if
- is convicted of an offense that imposes one or more year sentence, within 5 years of US citizenship
- is convicted to more crimes that include a different criminal scheme
Even conviction of a single crime involved in aggravated felonies may lead immigrants to deportation as per California’s felonies laws. INA has set out a list that includes;
Theft Crimes with one year of the sentence in prison
- Sexual abuse
- Pimping (prostitution business)
- Fraud crimes (with defrauding amount of $10,000)
Controlled substances offenses
Any drug-related crime in California may result in deportation.
From serious crimes including sale/ distribution of drugs to minor offenses like drug possession, it includes both. Possession of 30 g or less marijuana is the only exception for a single charge.
Crimes related to destructive devices are another broad category that leads immigrants to deportation.
Non-citizens, if found involved in illegal of a firearm. In short, any violation of gun laws may result in deportation.
Involvement in domestic violence crimes like child abuse, violation of restraining order, and internal battery on a partner can be a reason for deportation.
Criminal Convictions leading to “Inadmissibility.”
What is Inadmissibility?
Inadmissibility is not the same thing as deportation. In fact, It is a trickier phenomenon that means losing eligibility to receiving any benefits from the American immigration authorities. It matters if a person is,
- An undocumented immigrant who is seeking an adjustment to his/her status to legal immigrant
- A legal non-citizen who wants re-enter
- A legal non- citizen seeking American nationality or naturalization
If an immigrant is inadmissible and facing the scenarios mentioned above, he/she will not receive any immigration benefits. However, inadmissibility does not deport immigrants from the US- except one condition. If an immigrant somehow received immigration benefits while he/she was inadmissible, and authorities catch it later, it will result in deportation.
Inadmissible Crimes in California
There is no much difference between deportable crimes and inadmissible crimes -but they are not identical.
INA, under section 212, set out the following crime categories that lead an immigrant to inadmissibility:
Moral Turpitude Crimes
An immigrant is inadmissible if he/she
- Is convicted
- Has admitted to crime elements of moral turpitude
The significant difference between deportation and inadmissibility with regards to moral turpitude crime are:
- Conviction is a must in deportation but not in inadmissibility. An immigrant is inadmissible if they admit to crime elements
- Inadmissibility does not require two convictions of moral turpitude crime that has a maximum sentence.
That means an immigrant is inadmissible if;
- Their conviction is for six months
- The penalty is also less than one year
- They are sentenced to prison terms of 7 months or maybe less
Hiring a lawyer with a good understanding of immigration law, criminal intersection, and immigrants’ criminal defense is vital here. If you have a charge of moral turpitude crime, only a competent attorney knows how to arrange a maximum penalty, which is not less than 6 or 12 months. This way, you will not be inadmissible.
An immigrant is rendered inadmissible if they
- is convicted of
- Admits to elements of drug law violation
Multiple Criminal Offenses
An immigrant is deemed inadmissible if
- They are convicted of multiple crimes even if they are the part of a single act or scheme
- The sentences of convicted crimes add up to 5 years or more
Moreover, an immigrant may be declared deportable and inadmissible for illegal conduct even if he/she was never convicted of any crime. That means “conduct-based” inadmissibility and deportation may happen,
The following are the potential grounds of conduct-based inadmissibility and deportation.
An immigrant deems inadmissible (not deportable) if he/she
- is involved in prostitution for ten years of admission application visa and adjustment to the status
Drug Trafficking and Addiction
Any involvement in drug trafficking – even if there is no formal conviction of trafficking will make an immigrant inadmissible.
Similarly, drug abuse or addiction will also make an immigrant inadmissible. However, there are fewer chances of deportation if a non-citizen is currently a drug abuser. Deportation happens if an immigrant admits that he/she has a drug addiction.