As a major international city located close to the U.S./Mexico border, Los Angeles is home to people from around the world. Unfortunately, there are many ways for immigrants to get caught up in the system and be deported or ruled “inadmissible.” If you or someone you love is facing this threat, you need to speak to a Los Angeles immigration law violations lawyer.
The Simmrin Law Group has a hand-picked team of experienced criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles with a focus on federal law and immigration issues. Our goal is to keep you in the country, help you keep your job, and keep your family together. Fill out the form to the right or give us a call to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a member of our team today.
When Is the U.S. Government Allowed to Deport or Remove Someone?
There are three main situations in which the U.S. government begins deportation proceedings against immigrants. The times and circumstances where immigrants find themselves vulnerable to deportation include:
- When crossing the border
- When an immigration violation occurs
- After an arrest for criminal activity
When Crossing the Border
Anyone crossing the border is subject to being stopped and potentially searched. People entering the United States must show proper identification.
Border agents can make arrests if there appears to be any immigration violation (including a false ID). Depending on the situation, these border arrests can lead to being deported or removed.
When an Immigration Violation Occurs
Both documented and undocumented immigrants can face deportation for a variety of common violations, including:
- Entering the country illegally
- Overstaying a visa
- Fraudulent ID or documentation
- Marriage fraud
After an Arrest for Criminal Activity
Not all criminal charges will subject immigrants to potential deportation. However, there are a number of crimes that can result in deportation or simply render you “inadmissible” if you are convicted.
These are only the most common circumstances. For instance, when it comes to undocumented immigrants, any time that immigration authorities become aware of your presence in the country, it could potentially lead to deportation.
For a free legal consultation with a immigration law violations lawyer serving Los Angeles, call (310) 896-2723
Is Los Angeles a Sanctuary City?
Strictly speaking, a sanctuary city is a city where local authorities do not automatically report illegal immigrants to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Unfortunately, Los Angeles does not always fit this description.
Since 1979, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has had a policy against stopping someone purely to determine their citizenship status. However, local authorities do cooperate with immigration authorities and will refer immigrants to ICE in some cases.
Los Angeles Immigration Law Violations Lawyer Near Me (310) 896-2723
What Are “Deportable” and “Inadmissible” Crimes?
U.S. law allows immigrants to be penalized for any criminal activity. That means that some crimes can lead to complications for your immigration status. These immigration consequences apply to legal, documented immigrants as well as undocumented immigrants.
Crimes can affect your status in two ways. They can either lead to deportation or to you not being admitted into the country.
If you are not a citizen and you get convicted of a deportable crime, you can be removed from the country. It does not matter how long you’ve lived in the United States or what your immigration status is currently. Deportation can occur immediately after the conviction or much later.
For many immigrants, deportation is a far harsher punishment than any other penalty they might face. If there is a chance that you might be deported, it is critical that you hire a federal crimes lawyer in Los Angeles, CA. An experienced attorney can help protect your rights to remain in the country.
If you are convicted of an “inadmissible” crime, you won’t be deported. However, if you leave the country and attempt to return, you can be turned away from entry at the border. Specifically, you will not be allowed to:
- Re-enter the country if you leave
- Apply for a change in your status or permanent residency
- Become a U.S. citizen
What Specific Crimes Count as Deportable or Inadmissible?
There are a number of different crimes that can affect your immigration status. These crimes can be broken into several different categories, including:
- Crimes of moral turpitude (CMTS)
- Aggravated felonies
- Drug crimes
- Firearm offenses
- Domestic violence
Some of these crimes are deportable offenses, while others will result in your admission to the country being denied. Here’s the breakdown by offense type.
Crimes of Moral Turpitude
These are offenses set forth by federal law, which are considered to call a person’s morals into question:
- Deportable: YES, if you’ve been convicted of two or more CMTs, or if you are convicted within five years of entry to the country (and face at least one year in jail)
- Inadmissible: YES in many cases. However, not in situations where only one CMT has been committed with six months or less of sentenced jail time and one year or less of maximum jail time.
Aggravated felonies do not necessarily refer to crimes that are felonies under state law but to another specific list of crimes set by U.S. federal law. Many are violent, but some are not.
- Deportable: YES
- Inadmissible: NO
- Deportable: YES, unless it was a simple possession charge of 30 grams or less of marijuana.
- Inadmissible: YES, if you were convicted of all the elements of the crime (or admitted to all of them).
- Deportable: YES
- Inadmissible: NO
- Deportable: YES
- Inadmissible: NO
Other Criminal Convictions
If you had two or more convictions that don’t fit any of the categories above, and the total sentence was at least five years in jail, you could still face immigration consequences.
- Deportable: NO
- Inadmissible: YES
In order for a crime to result in immigration issues, most of the above require that you be convicted in court. If you are not convicted, there are no immigration consequences.
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What If You Have a Criminal Record?
In some cases, a record of “criminal conduct” is enough to make you deportable or inadmissible, even if you were never convicted. This includes evidence of engaging in prostitution or drug trafficking. In these cases, simply the evidence that you were involved is enough without a criminal conviction.
This is why it’s important for any immigrant, documented or otherwise, to get a good criminal defense lawyer if you are ever arrested, even if you are not charged. Your lawyer can help you avoid immigration penalties as well as a conviction.
Can You Fight Deportation?
Yes. There are several ways an immigration lawyer can help you remain in the country or even continue on a path to citizenship when faced with deportation. These can include:
- Disputing the facts of an immigration violation
- Obtaining refugee status
- Taking advantage of the DACA program
- Fighting criminal charges
- Securing post-conviction relief
Disputing the Facts of an Immigration Violation
Many alleged violations, such as fraudulent papers or a fraudulent marriage, can be disputed. However, doing so is not easy.
It is important to have an experienced Los Angeles immigration violations lawyer on your side. They will know how to properly build your case and dispute that any violation actually occurred.
Obtaining Refugee Status
If you’re coming from a country where your life is in danger, either because of political persecution, gang/cartel activity, or any other violence, you may qualify for exceptions as a refugee. Obtaining refugee status can provide you with protection from deportation, as well as other potential benefits to help you in your new life.
Taking Advantage of the DACA Program
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program remains one path to protect younger immigrants from deportation.
Fighting Criminal Charges
For most of the deportable and inadmissible crimes, if you aren’t convicted, you cannot face immigration consequences. Beating these charges is often a path to ensure your rights to remain in the country are protected. However, there are some instances where getting arrested is enough to make things difficult, even if your charges are dropped.
With charges where only longer conviction lengths will result in deportation, a plea bargain may also be able to help you avoid deportation.
Securing Post-Conviction Relief
Many of the deportable and inadmissible categories depend on how long you were sentenced, what specific charge you faced, or how you were convicted. Often, you can have these factors modified by the courts after you serve your sentence or even while you’re serving it.
Deportation is not a sure thing. An experienced Los Angeles immigration lawyer may be able to help you stay in the country.
Talk to a Los Angeles Immigration Attorney for Free
Don’t let an immigration violation put your future in danger. Let the lawyers of the Simmrin Law Group help you. We will give you a free consultation and help you get started.
Fill out our online contact form or give us a call to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today. A member of our legal team will review your case and advise you of all your legal options to help you stay in the country.