Deportability Grounds: What Can Get a Green Card Holder Deported?

Individuals on the path to US immigration need to understand deportability grounds to avoid them. Contact Tadeo & Silva Immigration Attorneys for information.

Author: Massiel Silva Tadeo, Founder, Tadeo & Silva

Attorney Massiel Silva Tadeo is a partner and owner at The Tadeo & Silva Law Firm. She specializes in removal (deportation) defense, family immigration, and hardship waivers. Updated on: November 07, 2022.

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What Are Deportability Grounds?

U.S. immigration laws contain many grounds upon which non-citizens and even green card holders can be removed or deported back to their country of nationality.

Having a non-immigrant visa or being a lawful permanent resident comes with the right to legally live and work in the United States temporarily or permanently. But these rights come with limitations and rules. Failure to abide by those rules can lead to losing your residence.

Grounds of deportability include gaining legal status by committing marriage fraud and falsely claiming to be a U.S. citizen. However, committing certain crimes can make someone both deportable and inadmissible.

What Is the Difference Between Grounds of Inadmissibility and Grounds of Deportability?

While there are clear distinctions between the grounds of deportability and inadmissibility, both can cause severe problems.

The grounds of deportability in terms of Section 237 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) apply to people who are already legally living within the United States and have a lawful permanent resident status and non-immigrant status.

 

What Are the Grounds of Inadmissibility According to Immigration Law?

On the other hand, the grounds of inadmissibility (Section 212(a) of the Immigration Act) apply to individuals born in a foreign country seeking both the right to stay in the U.S. legally and admission to the United States at the point of entry or the U.S. border. Sometimes, the ground of inadmissibility can be applied to green card holders returning to the U.S. after returning to the United States.

In other words, no one can get a U.S. visa, a green card, or any other form of U.S. entry without proving that they are not inadmissible. More specifically, entering the U.S. without permission or committing fraud to gain immigration benefits can make that individual inadmissible.

If you are arrested for a crime and facing the deportation process, or you believe you have become removable from the U.S., having an Atlanta deportation lawyer by your side may be beneficial.

 

Grounds of Deportability of a Legal Permanent Resident

A legal permanent resident can lose their green card if they do any of the following:

  • Misrepresenting themselves as a U.S. citizen to vote: Lawful permanent residents can’t vote. Unlawful voters can become deportable.
  • Not completing a timely change of address: When an individual changes their address, they must report the change to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within ten days.
  • Abandoning their permanent residence or failure to establish a permanent residence: Individuals with permanent resident status are required to establish a permanent residence and live there.
  • Committing fraud: Committing fraud during the green card application process, such as entering into a fraudulent marriage to a U.S. citizen, can be considered grounds for removal.
  • Committing certain crimes: Committing a crime other than an aggravated felony, or having a controlled substance in your possession, can lead to ICE deportation. It’s hard to say precisely which crimes make someone deportable since it often depends on other facts surrounding your case.

What Is Considered a Deportable Crime?

Certain aggravated felonies are considered deportable crimes. These crimes can include murder, rape, sexual abuse of a minor, drug crimes, money laundering, and firearms-related offenses.

However, there is a narrow exception regarding the possession of controlled substances. Although drug crimes are considered deportable, a single offense involving possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana doesn’t make a person deportable.

Convictions of violent or threatening acts of domestic violence, stalking, as well as child abuse, neglect, or abandonment are also deportable offenses.

Crimes of moral turpitude (CIMT) committed within a certain time after admission are typically deportable. These crimes are defined as vile, offensive acts done with evil intent and insulting to one’s moral compass.

In addition, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) defines moral turpitude as crimes involving acts against the rules about one’s neighbors or society that are intentionally wrong, shock the public, and acts that result from reckless behavior. However, BIA doesn’t name specific crimes that can be considered crimes involving moral turpitude, which means the designation of this crime can be assigned to any crime they choose.

So, a person convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude within five years of admission for which they could receive a sentence of 1 year is deportable. Furthermore, an individual convicted of two or more crimes involving moral turpitude after an admission that doesn’t arise out of a single scheme of criminal misconduct is also deportable.

Grounds of Deportability Chart

Immigration consequences of crimes are complex and constantly changing. But, criminal defense attorneys have made charts that present analysis that a criminal conviction for certain Georgia offenses can have on someone’s immigration status.

Charts should be used as a starting point, not a substitute for legal research. The chart may also suggest how to avoid harsh immigration consequences.

 

Waivers for Deportability Grounds

 

If U.S. immigration authorities believe an individual is removable (deportable) or that they were inadmissible during their last U.S. entry, removal proceedings may start. But, these individuals can request for a waiver.

For example, individuals with one conviction for simple possession of under 30 grams of marijuana for personal use and those convicted of possessing paraphernalia used with marijuana are eligible for the waiver. Even those who are inadmissible may apply for a waiver which, if granted, will mean that the U.S. immigration authorities decided to overlook the problem and admit them.

Even though the waiver is considered legal forgiveness, it may occur in the context of deportation proceedings. That means it will be best to have a competent attorney who practices immigration law and is well-versed in Atlanta Immigration Court proceedings.

What Is Removal Proceeding?

Since April 1997, all immigration procedures concerning deportation have been called removal procedures. They typically involve an immigration judge who decides whether an individual is deportable or inadmissible to the United States.

The burden of proof when it comes to inadmissibility lies on the applicant for admission – they have to prove they are entitled to be admitted beyond doubt.

However, when it comes to deportability, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has to prove the grounds of deportability exist in the case of a non-citizen who has been admitted to the United States.

 

Removal Proceedings Immigration

The immigration authorities can’t just deport someone. Non-citizens have the right to hire an immigration attorney and other rights under the U.S. Constitution, such as a hearing.

The hearing lasts as long as is needed to present and hear all the evidence. Bear in mind that immigration court proceedings are administrative and less formal than ordinary court proceedings. The judge may decide on a case at the end of the hearing or later. In case the decision is negative, the judge will issue an order of removal.

Removal vs. Deportation: How Can Tadeo & Silva Immigration Attorneys Help?

Thousands of individuals are deported from the United States every year. Reasons for deportation vary and depend on the circumstances of every particular case. But, the right lawyer can make a huge difference when it comes to deportation in Atlanta, GA.

If you are facing deportation, hiring a top immigration lawyer in Atlanta can help obtain a favorable result. For more questions on grounds for deportability, reach out to Tadeo & Silva Immigration Attorneys as soon as possible so we can discuss your case and possible paths forward.

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