Deportation is one of the most painful tools the U.S. government wields in Los Angeles. As a major international city located close to the U.S./Mexico border, Los Angeles is home to immigrants from around the world—including both documented and undocumented immigrants. Unfortunately, there are many ways for immigrants to get caught up in the system and be deported or ruled “inadmissible.” In many cases this tears families apart. If you or someone you love is facing this threat, you do not have to deal with it alone. You need to speak to a Los Angeles immigration law violations lawyer.
The Simmrin Law Group knows how to help. We have a hand-picked team of some of the best attorneys in the state, 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—without the threat of removal. Let us give you a free consultation. Fill out the form to the right or call us at 310-997-4688 and get your free consultation today.
When is the U.S. government allowed to deport or remove someone?
The U.S. government starts deportation proceedings under three main circumstances:
- During entry to the country or border crossings. Anyone crossing the border is subject to being stopped and potentially searched. People entering the United States must show proper identification, and 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.
- In response to an immigration violation. 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
- If an individual develops a criminal record or “criminal conduct.” Many criminal convictions can count as grounds for deportation, or simply render you “inadmissible.”
These are only the most common circumstances, however. Technically, any time that immigration authorities become aware of an undocumented immigrant—or an immigration violation—it could potentially lead to deportation.
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Isn’t Los Angeles a sanctuary city?
Strictly speaking, a sanctuary city is a city where local authorities do not automatically report illegal immigrants to ICE. Unfortunately, Los Angeles has not always fit this description. Since 1979, the LAPD have 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.
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What are “deportable” and “inadmissible” crimes?
U.S. law allows immigrants to be penalized for any kind of criminal activity. That means that some crimes can lead to complications for your immigration status. This applies to legal, documented immigrants as well as undocumented immigrants.
Crimes can affect your status in two ways:
- Deportable crimes. If you are not a citizen and you’re convicted of a deportable crime, you can be deported from the country—no matter how long you’ve lived here (or what your status is). This can happen immediately after the conviction or much later.
- Inadmissible crimes. If you are convicted of an “inadmissible” crime, you won’t be deported by you can be turned away for 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, or
- Become a U.S. citizen
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What specific crimes count as deportable or inadmissible?
There are a number of different categories:
- Crimes of moral turpitude (CMTs). This is a specific list of offenses set forth by federal law, all of which are considered to call a person’s morals into question.
- Deportable: YES, if you’ve been convicted of two or more, or if you are convicted within 5 years of entry to the country (and face at least 1 year in jail)
- Inadmissible: YES in many cases; but not if it’s only one CMT with 6 months or less of sentenced jail time and 1 year or less of maximum jail time.
- Aggravated felonies. This does 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
- Drug crimes.
- 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).
- Firearm offenses.
- Deportable: YES
- Inadmissible: NO
- Domestic violence.
- 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 5 years in jail, then…
- Deportable: NO
- Inadmissible: YES
Most of the above require that you be convicted in court—if you are not convicted, there are no immigration consequences. However, 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 so 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.
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Can I 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. These can include:
- Disputing the facts of an immigration violation. Many alleged violations, such as fraudulent papers or a fraudulent marriage, can be disputed.
- 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.
- Although the future of the DACA program is currently in question, at present it 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.
- 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 afteryou serve your sentence—or even while you’re serving it.
Deportation is not a sure thing. A good 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 the form to the right or call us at 310-997-4688 and get your free consultation today.