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When Can You Be Deported from the United States?

April 7, 2023 | Posted In Immigration

If you are living in the United States as a non-U.S. citizen, you can face deportation (or “removal”) on various grounds. Your rights when facing deportation depend on your current immigration status, and you will want to work with an experienced New Jersey deportation lawyer who can help you remain in the U.S. if you have defenses available.

5 Grounds for Deportation from the United States

Determining if you have defenses available starts with understanding why you are facing deportation. Here are five common grounds for deportation from the United States:

1. Unlawful Entry

If you entered the United States unlawfully, you are subject to being placed in custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and deported to your home country. While there are few defenses to entering the United States without going through the formal immigration process, there are ways an experienced New Jersey deportation lawyer may be able to help you.

For example, one potential option is to file for asylum. If you risk facing persecution in your home country should you get deported, a New Jersey deportation lawyer may be able to use this to help you remain in the United States.

2. Loss of Lawful Immigration Status

In addition to facing deportation for unlawful entry, it is also possible to face deportation if you remain in the United States illegally. This can be the case, for example, if you lose your lawful immigration status. You can lose your lawful immigration status if:

  • Your visa has expired
  • You have failed to maintain the status under which you were admitted (i.e., you have not complied with the terms of your visa)
  • Your admission to the U.S. has been revoked or terminated for any reason
  • You have assisted another person with gaining unlawful entry to the United States

While all of these issues can cause you to be deported from the United States, it is possible to avoid deportation in many cases. With that said, when facing deportation due to the loss of your lawful immigration status, it is important that you speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. Waiting any longer than necessary can make your situation worse—and waiting to hire a lawyer can make it much more difficult to fight deportation successfully.

3. Criminal Conviction

Even if you are in the U.S. legally, you can face deportation in the event that you receive a criminal conviction. For purposes of U.S. federal immigration law, a conviction includes:

  • A guilty plea
  • A finding of guilt by a judge or jury
  • A conviction that is vacated
  • Admitting guilt as part of a plea bargain

Not all criminal convictions warrant deportation under U.S. law. Generally speaking, the types of crimes that can lead to deportation proceedings are:

  • Aggravated felonies
  • Crimes involving moral turpitude
  • Domestic violence crimes
  • Drug crimes
  • Firearms offenses

With certain types of criminal convictions, not only can you face deportation, but you can also be deemed “inadmissible.” If you are deemed inadmissible, you will not be eligible to return to the U.S. following your deportation.

4. Fraud

You can also face deportation from the United States if you obtained your current immigration status through fraud. This is treated the same as entering the U.S. illegally, as it is illegal to defraud the federal government in order to secure a visa or green card. Some examples of fraud that can lead to deportation include:

  • Forging immigration documents
  • Providing false information on immigration documents
  • Entering into a fraudulent marriage in order to obtain a green card

Crucially, while naturalized U.S. citizens are safe from removal in most circumstances, obtaining a green card or citizenship through fraud is an exception that allows for deportation.

5. Becoming a “Public Charge”

In order to become a lawful permanent resident and obtain a green card, you must prove that you will not become a “public charge.” This means that you must be able to prove you will not need to rely on government assistance while residing in the United States.

If you become a “public charge” after obtaining a green card, this can serve as grounds for deportation. Specifically, Section 237(a)(5) of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA) states: “Any alien who, within five years after the date of entry, has become a public charge from causes not affirmatively shown to have arisen since entry is deportable."

These Are Not the Only Grounds for Deportation

While these are among the most common grounds for deportation from the United States, this list is not comprehensive. There are several other issues that can cause you to face deportation proceedings as well—including issues as minor as failing to report a change of address to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If you are facing deportation, it is critical that you understand exactly why you are at risk for removal. Your New Jersey deportation lawyer can determine this for you, and then your lawyer can determine what options you have available.

Fighting Deportation as a Legal or Illegal Immigrant in the U.S.

Regardless of why you are facing deportation and regardless of your current immigration status, you should talk to a New Jersey deportation lawyer promptly. There are several ways a lawyer can help you—including fighting to help you remain in the United States. Just because you are facing removal, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have done something wrong. People often face deportation proceedings unjustly, and, unfortunately, those who don’t hire a lawyer to protect them often end up getting removed from the U.S. unnecessarily.

Speak with a New Jersey Deportation Lawyer at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A.

Are you facing deportation proceedings in New Jersey? If so, we can help, and we encourage you to contact us promptly for more information. To discuss your situation with an experienced New Jersey deportation lawyer at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. in confidence, call us at 877-435-6371 or tell us how we can reach you online today.

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