The United States is a nation of immigrants and New Jersey has always been a state which has gladly welcomed those from across the globe. New Jersey is a land of opportunity that continues to attract many people from around the world. As immigrants settle in New Jersey and throughout the United States, they must not only follow by both federal and state law but also be aware that committing certain crimes may also have immigration implications.
NJ Deportation Defense Attorneys
While our immigration laws are passed by the federal government and applied equally to the states, immigrants may face serious legal consequences for violations of either federal or state laws or regulations. Such violations are often referred to as deportable offenses and are expressly set out in the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and similar laws. Immigrants who are charged and convicted of these violations face the very real possibility of having to face both criminal and immigration consequences.
Without the advice and counsel of a knowledgeable and experienced New Jersey deportation defense attorney, an immigrant convicted of a crime may become immediately removable from the United States. Even a plea agreement that reduces the charges against an immigrant may result in deportation proceedings and detention by immigration authorities. Therefore, any immigrant who is accused of violating any law should consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. A skilled immigration lawyer will be able to navigate and address both the state and immigration legal issues that may exist for you.
Any immigrant, whether a legal permanent resident or otherwise, may be placed in removal proceedings and deported if they are convicted of a crime. As discussed above, deportable offenses are set out in our federal laws, specifically INA § 237. This section of the INA identifies two categories of crimes for which an immigrant may be removed if convicted — crimes of moral turpitude and aggravated felonies.
The INA does not clearly define a “crime of moral turpitude;” in fact, many would argue that it is hardly defined at all. As a result, the definition of the term has been developed by the courts over time and generally refers to an act that goes against normal moral standards. Recently, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services published guidelines stating that such crimes will often include “fraud, larceny, and intent to harm persons or things,” though many other offenses may be included in this category. Such a vague definition can also result in differing results based upon each state’s laws relevant to the criminal conviction.
Immigrants convicted of a crime of moral turpitude may be placed into removal proceedings. Often, this occurs if the following conditions are met:
- An immigrant commits a crime of moral turpitude during the first five years after admission to the United States
- An immigrant commits two or more crimes of moral turpitude that did not arise out of a single scheme of criminal misconduct at any time after admission to the United States
In addition to crimes of moral turpitude, aggravated felonies can also result in deportation and removal. These are considered to be more heinous and morally reprehensible and, unlike with crimes of moral turpitude, the INA includes a comprehensive list of aggravated felonies, some of which include the following:
- Drug or firearms trafficking
- Sexual abuse of a minor
- Child pornography
- Money laundering
Although an immigrant convicted of deportable offenses may be immediately placed in removal proceedings, certain legal defenses may be available. For instance, the law makes exceptions for certain offenses or circumstances and an attorney may argue that an exception applies to your situation. In addition, legal waivers may be available in some situations for individuals facing deportation proceedings. If you are granted a waiver under the INA, the removal proceedings against you may be closed, allowing you to remain in the United States. An experienced deportation defense lawyer can evaluate your situation and identify which legal defenses may be applicable in your case.
Call our New Jersey Deportation Defense Attorneys
Deportation proceedings can be complicated and may separate you from your family, job, and home. Anyone who has been detained or who is facing these proceedings should seek the advice and legal counsel of a trained, knowledgeable deportation defense attorney as soon as possible. A skilled attorney can identify the defenses that may allow you to remain in the United States. If you are in need of deportation defense, contact the knowledgeable and experienced attorneys of Maduabum Law Firm, LLC today for a consultation.