As an immigrant, you have likely faced many difficulties in your life. You may have come to Texas after needing to flee a threat of harm in your country of origin, or you may have come in efforts to build a better life for yourself and your family for other reasons. No matter the reason, you likely found the process of coming to the United States a long and difficult one.
Now, you may face an even more difficult predicament because legal issues have put you at risk for deportation. Whether documented or undocumented, immigrants who are charged with a crime could face the possibility of removal, and you will certainly want to understand your options for handling your case.
When is removal a possibility?
When it comes to the possibility of deportation, your immigration status and the specific crime you allegedly committed could affect your case. For instance, if your immigration status is considered undocumented, you could face the possibility of removal for relatively low-level crimes, such as DUI. Though a DUI is not strictly a deportable offense, you could still face removal proceedings because the arrest will likely put you on the radar of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Your undocumented status could be enough for ICE to begin removal proceedings.
Even if you have a green card or other residency documentation, criminal activity could still put you in line for deportation under certain circumstances. Typically, these crimes must be more serious in nature, such as child abuse, aggravated felonies, certain drug offenses, trafficking or violating gun laws. In some cases, such as with drug offenses, the immigration court may view the crimes more seriously than a standard court would.
Unfortunately, some aspects of the overlap between immigration law and criminal law are not always clear. For example, if a person committed a crime of moral turpitude, or a crime that violates standards of justice or morals, he or she could face deportation. However, there is no strict definition for moral turpitude, and each state and each judge could view that aspect differently.
If police arrest you and your immigration status comes into question, you will undoubtedly want to handle your case as effectively as possible. You may need to gain information on the options available for your specific case and how the charges could affect your ability to remain in the United States. Working with an attorney experienced in both criminal law and immigration law may be in your best interests.