What are common grounds for deportation?

People who are in the United States from another country should understand the grounds by which the government may deport or remove them.

Gaining entry into the United States is an important yet complicated step. People in North Carolina often have a number of roadblocks to overcome to be reunited with family or work here.

However, for some, the struggle does not end upon entering the country. The government holds the right to remove people in certain circumstances. In fact, in 2016, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement removed 240,255 people, which is a slight increase over 2015 but an overall 24 percent decline from the number of removals in 2014.

Immigrants should understand some of common reasons the government gives as the grounds for deportation as well as what that process looks like.

Criminal activity

Certain crimes could result in a deportation, though there are many crimes that do not fall into this category. According to the Immigration and Nationality Act, people who hold a green card could be removed if they are convicted of crimes that are of "moral turpitude" and carry an imprisonment sentence of one year or longer.

Moral turpitude is generally interpreted as crimes that are contrary to standards of justice. Such crimes include the following:

  • Domestic violence
  • Firearms or drug trafficking
  • Fraud
  • Espionage and terrorism
  • Murder
  • Rape

Essentially, immigration authorities review the crime and determine if it meets the deportation classification outlined by the law.

Violating immigration laws

The United States has a long code that dictates the steps people who enter this country must take to be here lawfully. For example, people who come as tourists are not permitted to work, as there is a separate visa that must be acquired for that. Additionally, falsifying documents - like marriage certificates - is considered a violation of immigration law and could subject someone to removal.

Taking public assistance

Upon receiving a green card, people agree that they will not need to rely on the U.S. government for help. If, within five years of entering the country, someone accepts public assistance, he or she may be deported.

Alerting authorities to changes

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services requires immigrants to notify the agency as soon as possible if there is a change in address or status. Failing to do so is a violation punishable by deportation.

The removal process

An immigration judge may order the removal. Typically, the customs enforcement division initiates the process by serving the person in question with a notice to appear before the judge. The notice contains the alleged grounds for removal as well as when the hearing takes place. During this time, people are able to work with an attorney to build a defense to the removal.

Removal is a serious issue that should be addressed promptly. Anyone who has concerns about this issue should speak with an immigration attorney in North Carolina.