A person who has become a legal permanent resident might believe they are now protected from removal proceedings. Criminal activity, however, can get a green card holder deported from the United States. Depending on the severity of the crime, deportation can lead to a permanent bar from re-entering the country. Typically, criminal activity that can lead to removal proceedings falls into two categories: crimes of moral turpitude and aggravated felonies.
Crimes of moral turpitude
While there is no specific definition of what a crime of moral turpitude is, the courts view these as crimes that include larceny, fraud and the intent to harm persons or things. These are crimes that generally involve dishonesty and theft. Additionally, crimes such as spousal abuse and assault with the intent to rob or kill another person are generally included in crimes of moral turpitude.
Typically, an individual can be deported for a crime of moral turpitude when one of two conditions are met:
- The crime is committed during the first five years after admission to the United States
- Two or more crimes are committed that did not arise out of the same scheme of criminal misconduct
Another category of crimes that could make a permanent resident eligible for removal proceedings is the commission of an aggravated felony. These are crimes of a serious nature and few defenses might be possible. Examples of this type of crime can include:
- Drug trafficking
- Firearms trafficking
- Sexual abuse of a minor
- Child pornography
- Money laundering
Criminal activity of any nature can lead to possible deportation. Once you have received your green card, it is wise that you continue to follow the law. Depending on the severity of the crime, you might be deported and lose the ability to ever return to the United States. Facing this type of situation, do not hesitate to seek legal help.