Deportation Relief in Crimes of Moral Turpitude
Dedicated Immigration Attorney in New Jersey
One of the things that pose the largest threat of deportation for immigrants who have not yet achieved citizenship is the conviction of a crime of moral turpitude. In the eyes of the law, these crimes are considered to show a lack of morality, or some distortion of it. The terms is never truly defined, but is instead meant to be vague and catch dozens of different crimes.
What Counts as a Crime of Moral Turpitude?
Each state will have their own stipulations for what that is, and more realistically, a judge will decide if the crime in question could be thought of as one that shows a depraved morality. While they certainly do included serious crimes, they can also include petty crimes that are not deserving of deportation.
A crime could be considered a CMT if it falls in any of the following categories:
- Aggravated assault
- Voluntary manslaughter
- Child abuse
- Spousal abuse
As you can see, most of the crime listed above are serious and heinous in nature without context, but a crime of moral turpitude, under these definitions, could be a simple mix up at a store where an individual mistakenly placed a product in their pocket and walked away with it. Not all of these justify a deportation, which is why there are still a number of possible defenses to stay in the United States.
Defending Threat of Deportation
What will become very important during the case is to show the exact circumstances around the alleged crime, showing that the degree of the offense is not as serious as the charge makes it sound, that you did not intend to commit the crime, or another factor that argues against the ruling of deportation.
The main defenses against deportation from a crime of moral turpitude include:
- Purely political offense exception – this argues that the crime was committed with other people and to avoid racial, religious, or other uncivil persecution
- Youthful offender exception – provides protection to those under the age of 18
- Petty offense exception – this reflects the poor decision of deportation if the alleged crime was the only one ever charged to the individual and if the sentencing is less than six months of jail.
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Q:I am a fiancée of a U.S. citizen living outside the U.S. How can I enter the U.S. to marry?
A:Your fiancée must apply for a Fiancée Visa, also known as the K-1 Visa. The visa is for parties who have physically met within the past two years, have an intent to marry, and can document a relationship together. The visa is only for those who are residing abroad and cannot be used if the alien is in the US. The application is filed from within the US and when approved, will be forwarded to the American Consular where the alien fiancée will apply for the visa and be interviewed by an officer - usually about 8-12 months from the date of filing.
Q:I live in the U.S. and I am marrying a U.S. citizen. How can I get a green card and become a permanent resident?
A:Assuming you have entered the US with a visa or are protected by an old law called 245i, you may be eligible to adjust status to receive a green card from within the US. If you have been illegally present for more than 6 months, you cannot travel until the green card is in hand. Current processing time is about 5-7 months.
Q:I live outside the U.S. and I married a U.S citizen. How can I come to the U.S. to live?
A:To enter the US after a marriage to a US Citizen, you would go through Consular Processing. Paperwork would be filed in the US and forwarded to the embassy abroad to schedule an interview. The processing time frame from start to finish is between 9-11 months, depending on the embassy abroad. The process is document-intensive and requires careful attention to detail.