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What are the immigration consequences Associated with an Aggravated Felony?

By June 5, 2020March 16th, 2021Family Immigration, Immigration
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This post continues our series on the impact of criminal convictions on immigration. Our last post dealt with Crimes of Moral Turpitude (CIMTs) and you can find out more about that by clicking here.

What are Aggravated felonies?

Aggravated felonies are easier to identify because the criminal acts considered to be aggravated felonies are actually listed by immigration law. Aggravated felonies are typically comprised of state criminal convictions related to murder; sexual violations; sexual abuse of a minor; trafficking or sale of drugs; firearms trafficking; certain offenses involving explosives/destructive devices; crimes of violence where the punishment for the conviction is a sentence of one year or more in jail; theft offenses involving a permanent or temporary deprivation of property where the punishment is a sentence of one year or more in jail; crimes of fraud where the victim’s loss adds up to $10,000 or more.

What are the Immigration Consequences for noncitizens including Legal Permanent Residents?

A noncitizen in the United States with status including a legal permanent resident can be deportable if the noncitizen is convicted of an aggravated felony at any time after admission into the United States.

Furthermore, a noncitizen convicted of an aggravated felony facing removal proceedings will also be disqualified from seeking release from immigration detention custody while facing removal proceedings.

Finally, a conviction for an aggravated felony will disqualify a noncitizen from most forms of relief from deportation including legal permanent residents seeking relief from removal in the form of Cancellation of Removal for certain legal permanent residents. A discussion about Cancellation of Removal for legal permanent residents can be found by clicking here. Additionally, noncitizens seeking relief through most forms of Asylum based relief will be disqualified from such relief.

What are the Immigration Consequences for noncitizens attempting to enter the United States or living within the United States without status?

Somewhat surprisingly, a noncitizen seeking physical admission into the United States or seeking to change status to that of a legal permanent resident will not be denied physical admission or denied changing of status to legal permanent resident as a result of such a conviction. This means a violence or theft related offense that is an aggravated felony will only affect such noncitizens only if these offenses are also held to be CIMTs as discussed previously.

Unfortunately, noncitizens living in the United States without status still face other very severe immigration consequences. A noncitizen without status convicted of an aggravated felony that is placed in removal proceedings will be disqualified from the version of relief from removal known as Cancellation of Removal for certain nonlegal permanent residents. Again, information for Cancellation of Removal for nonlegal permanent residents can be found clicking here. A noncitizen can also be disqualified from most forms of Asylum relief as well.

Furthermore, a noncitizen living in the United States without status and facing removal proceedings will also be disqualified from seeking release from immigration detention custody based on a conviction considered an aggravated felony.

What can an immigration attorney do for someone convicted of an aggravated felony?

Although these crimes are listed under immigration law, Aggravated Felonies, like CIMTs, can still be improperly diagnosed by government agents and government attorneys. This means, that like dealing with CIMTs it is important to hire an experienced immigration attorney to properly diagnose whether a conviction is an aggravated felony to present argument to convince the relevant Immigration agency or court that the noncitizen has not been convicted of an aggravated felony potentially freeing a Legal Permanent Resident from removal proceedings or keeping alive a noncitizen’s chances for a bond determination or relief from removal via the two forms of Cancellation of Removal or Asylum related relief.

See all of the posts in this series:

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