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Do criminal convictions always lead to deportation?

by | Apr 28, 2021 | Immigration

Immigrants with a criminal conviction may face the threat of deportation. In a recent case, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) dove into this issue. The case involves a man who immigrated to the United States 25 years ago. Authorities in Nebraska recently charged the man with criminal impersonation after he used a fraudulent Social Security card to apply for employment.

Unfortunately, in this case SCOTUS ruled in favor of the state.

What can other immigrants learn from this case?

As noted by Justice Gorsuch, not all immigrants who are accused of a crime will face deportation. Generally, for a crime to lead to such a severe penalty, authorities must deem the crime at issue a “serious” crime.

But what does that mean? In this case, it seems difficult to understand how using a fraudulent social security card to get a job would rise to the level of a serious crime. When explaining their ruling, the court went on to discuss how the burden to prove that the crime is not serious rests with the accused. In this specific case, SCOTUS stated the immigrant failed to make the argument that the crime was not serious. As a result, other immigrants who find themselves facing allegations of criminal wrongdoing are wise to keep this ruling in mind and prepare to argue that the crime is not serious to help avoid the threat of deportation.

It is also important to note that immigrants with a criminal conviction facing deportation have options. In some cases, they can ask the attorney general to allow them to remain within the United States. In order to approve the request, the immigrant must meet certain criteria including living within the country for at least 10 years and that the crime at issue was not serious.