Immigrants living in Pennsylvania aspire for the American dream. However, if a person has a felony on their record, it can have a negative impact.
What crimes are considered a felony?
Immigration law makes it possible for a previous conviction of a felony to require removal from the United States. As a result, certain crimes in an immigrant’s past might mean they will not be able to stay in the country and would not be able to become naturalized citizens. The following crimes are included:
- Trafficking of firearms or explosives
- Federal drug trafficking
- Sex crimes such as statutory rape
- Certain fraud crimes such as those involving taxes
- Failing to appear in court
What can happen to an immigrant with a felony conviction?
If a person who is an immigrant is found to have been convicted of any of these crimes, they may be deported. For those who have gained permanent legal residency and who were recently convicted, it’s possible to be detained and possibly receive up to 20 years in prison.
Many of the crimes that can result in an immigrant being deported or barred from the U.S. are considered aggravated felonies or crimes of moral turpitude. An aggravated felony is specifically a crime that might be considered a misdemeanor by state law but that is elevated under immigration law.
Crimes of moral turpitude are those that violate the accepted moral code of the country. Many federal or white-collar crimes fall under this category of felony offenses such as wire fraud and tax fraud.
If you’re an immigrant who has had a felony conviction, it’s important to immediately seek help. It might make a difference in your status.