For many, the removal process and the threat of deportation is a constant nightmare. When they receive their legal permanent resident card (green card) these individuals breathe a sigh of relief. Unfortunately, having a green card doesn’t prevent you from being removed from the United States.
What are some situations where an individual can lose his or her permanent resident status?
Living outside the United States
A legal permanent resident (LPR) can spend a significant amount of time outside the United States. However, spending more than 12 months outside the country will likely result in a loss of permanent resident status. In fact, a customs officer might determine that you intended to live outside the United States simply based on a pattern of behavior.
Fraud and willful misrepresentation
Some individuals might lie, omit certain details or stretch the facts in an effort to look as good as possible when completing immigration paperwork. This is never advised and, if discovered, this misrepresentation can be grounds for removal no matter how far you have traveled into the immigration process.
Whether the marriage is done as a favor, done as a result of payment or with either party (or both) knowing that the marriage is fraudulent (mail-order marriages, for example) it can quickly result in a fraud charge and removal proceedings.
Even if you have a green card, you can face deportation if convicted of a crime. Even a seemingly minor conviction could possibly result in removal proceedings. Here are three situations that can have disastrous effects:
- Conviction of a crime of moral turpitude within five years after the date of U.S. admission.
- Conviction of two or more crimes of moral turpitude at any time.
- Conviction of an aggravated felony at any time.
Voluntary surrender of green card
There are many reasons why an individual might feel that it is beneficial to voluntarily abandon a status. One of the most common, however, is abandoning status to avoid paying U.S. taxes. While filing Form I-407 might seem like a way to save a significant sum of money, it is wise to seek the guidance of an experienced immigration lawyer who can answer your questions about the long-term consequences of your actions.
It is important that green card holders understand they can still be deported. Removal proceedings can be defended against, but this can be a stressful and costly time in your life. Consult with an immigration attorney before making any decision that might impact your status and, if removal becomes a possibility, act quickly to protect yourself and your family.