Which Crimes Could Get Me Deported?

Different Murder Charges

In the fiscal year of 2017, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement conducted 226,119 removals. 20.9% of people in Chicago were born in a different country. Certain parts of Chicagoland, like Cicero, Prospect Heights, and Schiller Park have welcomed 40% or more of their population from other countries. The Windy City proudly opens its doors for people from all over the world.

If you have been arrested, you will find it valuable to call a criminal defense attorney in Chicago. Keep reading our guide to learn which crimes are likely to lead to deportation.

Who Can Be Deported?

The current administration has placed a lot of emphasis on deporting undocumented workers, but they are not the only ones who face deportation to their home countries. Green cards and work visas can be revoked, at which point the owner of the visa or green card will be sent to their country of origin. It is always possible to lose your status, whatever that may be.

If you have already become a naturalized citizen, it is not likely that your citizenship will be taken from you. The process is called ‘denaturalization’, and there are generally four different circumstances in which someone may have their citizenship stripped from them:

  • If they falsified their paperwork during the naturalization process or concealed relevant facts
  • If they refused to testify before Congress
  • If they are a member of a subversive group, like the Nazi Party or Al Qaeda
  • If they received a dishonorable military discharge

These circumstances are not that common.

Crimes of Moral Turpitude

According to US Code, people are ineligible for admission into the United States if they have committed a crime of ‘moral turpitude’ or have violated any law relating to a controlled substance. While there is little ambiguity when it comes to controlled substances, the term ‘moral turpitude’ remains a somewhat nebulous concept.

The State Department of the United States has issued guidelines defining what moral turpitude is. The most common elements in these crimes involve fraud, larceny, and intent to harm persons or things. Crimes involving dishonesty are especially prevalent in these guidelines.

There are a few crimes that have consistently been considered to be crimes of moral turpitude. The following is not an exhaustive list but can still provide some insight:

  • Murder
  • Voluntary manslaughter
  • Rape
  • Spousal abuse
  • Kidnapping
  • Robbery
  • Aggravated assault
  • Animal fighting
  • Theft
  • Fraud

There are certain exceptions, however. If the crime was committed while the potential immigrant was under the age of 18, then under some circumstances, they may be admitted into the US or allowed to stay. In addition, if the crime does not carry a sentence of more than a year, and the immigrant was not sentenced to more than 6 months, then they may be allowed to stay in America.

Any immigrant that is convicted of 2 or more offenses could have their visa or green card revoked. It does not matter if the crimes come from a single act of misconduct, or if the crimes did not involve moral turpitude.

Someone who has come to the United States for the sole purpose of becoming a prostitute may face deportation. If someone commits or conspires to commit human trafficking offenses, even if they did so outside the United States, they may not be allowed to stay.

People convicted of “aggravated felonies” are treated especially harsh by the law. What is considered an aggravated felony according to immigration law does not fit with traditional legal definitions of “aggravated” or “felony”. Initially, it related to fairly serious crimes like murder or gun-trafficking. Now, it can apply to some misdemeanors. Those convicted of aggravated felonies are not allowed to receive most forms of relief that might save someone from being deported, including asylum.

If you have been accused of a crime, a lawyer from Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC can be your criminal defense attorney in Chicago. We have a team of experienced lawyers who are ready to fight for you today. Call us, day or night, at (312) 644-0444.

Written by Mitchell S. Sexner Last Updated : May 26, 2023