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Immigration Consequences of Crimes

An immigrant can be removed (deported) and excluded from coming into the United States if he is convicted of a “crime involving moral turpitude” (CIMT), certain drug offenses, or “aggravated felony.” CIMT are not specifically defined. However, the general idea conveyed in the immigration law is that these crimes include fraud, larceny and harm to persons or property. Whether driving under the influence will be considered as a CIMT depends on the circumstances.

Crimes against the person involve moral turpitude when criminal intent is an element of the offense. Such criminal intent may be inferred from the presence of unjustified violence or the use of a dangerous weapon. Often, lesser related offenses or lesser degrees of the same offenses might not involve moral turpitude absent criminal intent, unjustified violence, or the use of a dangerous weapon as elements of the offense.

Examples of crimes against the person found to involve moral turpitude (CIMT):

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What is An Aggravated Felony

The consequences of a conviction of an “aggravated felony” by a non citizen are serious. Under the Immigration & Nationality Act, Many crimes are considered “aggravated felonies.” Consequences include, among others, deportation and a permanent ban on becoming a U.S. citizen.

Aggravated Felonies Under the Immigration & Nationality Act

For immigration matters, the term “aggravated felony” comes from  Federal law. However, most criminal convictions are under state law. An offense that is not “aggravated” under State law, may be “aggravated” under Federal law. To determine if a person will suffer the immigration consequences of an “aggravated “felony” conviction, the state criminal statute under which the person was convicted must be compared to the definition of “aggravated felony.”

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Waivers of excludability

People with histories of criminal activities, previous immigration law violations, certain medical and other problems, will be denied entry or a lawful permanent residence, unless special permission is granted. This special permission is called a waiver. They are several  kinds and types of waivers.

8  CFR §212.7 (e): Unlawful presence waiver.

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Immigration law: The requirement of good moral character

Requiring Good Moral Character

Much of immigration law is about crimes and other unsavory behavior. Because the law tries to keep criminals from getting immigration benefits, certain immigration applications require showing good moral character for a specific period of time. Crimes even without a conviction can still prevent a person from receiving an immigration benefit.

For How Many Years Must an Applicant Show Good Moral Character?

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