The recent influx of young migrants to Florida and other states, particularly those with large Mexican and Central American communities, has ignited considerable debate about how the U.S. handles its immigrant populations. The desire to bring immigrants into the full range of systems in the country, among them the legal, health care, work and school systems, has served to highlight the possible contributions immigrants make to our society.
Unfortunately, some in our society remain focused on the process of deportation, the threat of which is an ongoing source of stress for immigrants. Because of the tenuous nature of many aspects of immigrant life, the possibility of legal troubles is something many recent immigrants should be aware of, as deportation can permanently halt plans of remaining in the U.S., contributing to society and eventually becoming full citizens.
The majority of people under consideration for deportation are in that position because they are suspected of committing a crime. U.S. immigration law identifies numerous crimes that may result in automatic deportation. These tend to fall under two umbrellas: crimes of moral turpitude and aggravated felonies.
What constitutes crimes of moral turpitude is somewhat open to interpretation, but they tend to involve theft, dishonesty or an attempt to harm another person. Committing one of these crimes within five years of arrival in the U.S. is typically sufficient justification to begin deportation proceedings, unless the crime would have resulted in a penalty of less than one year in prison.
Aggravated felonies tend to be more serious crimes, including violent crimes like murder and rape, drug or weapons trafficking and sex crimes involving children, such as assault or child pornography. They may also include financial crimes like money laundering or tax fraud involving amounts over $10,000.
If you have recently come to the U.S. or are sponsoring a recent immigrant and you have questions or concerns about your rights, speak with a compassionate and knowledgeable St. Petersburg-area immigration lawyer at the Law Office of K. Dean Kantaras right away.