If you are a lawful permanent resident (LPR) looking to avoid deportation after committing a crime or violating immigration laws in the United States, it may seem as if you have no choice but to accept the fact that you will be deported.
“But do not give up just yet,” says our Salt Lake City deportation defense attorney at Familia America. “There might be a way – or a couple of ways – to fight your deportation even if you are a lawful permanent resident with a criminal record.”
Do you qualify for cancellation of removal for LPRs?
Just because you committed a crime or violated certain laws in the U.S. does not necessarily mean that there is nothing you can do to avoid deportation. We get it: the realization that you risk losing your residency status and are about to be removed from the U.S. is too much to handle, but you could actually keep your residency and fight deportation if you qualify for cancellation of removal for LPRs. However, your circumstances will have to meet the following criteria to qualify for cancellation of removal for LPRs:
- You have had the status of a lawful permanent resident for at least five years;
- Before the day you committed the crime or violated the law that made you deportable, you had lived in the United States continuously for no less than seven years after being legally admitted to the country; and
- You have not been convicted of an aggravated felony (as defined by federal law).
What crimes are considered an ‘aggravated felony’ under federal law
Under federal law, an aggravated felony is defined differently compared to state laws in Utah and elsewhere. There are quite a few crimes that fall under the “aggravated felony” category, including but not limited to murder, rape, sexual assault of a minor, drug trafficking, serious theft and violent crimes, and many others.
It is highly advised to consult with a lawyer in the applicable jurisdiction, as establishing whether or not your crime can be classified as an aggravated felony under federal law is an important step to determine if you qualify for cancellation of deportation.
Unless your case meets the above-mentioned criteria, your request for cancellation of removal for LPRs will be dismissed and you will be deported from the U.S.
How to avoid deportation if you committed a crime in the U.S.?
Now that you have established that your crime is not an “aggravated felony,” as defined by federal law, you may be wondering, “What’s my next step? How do I actually fight my deportation?”
If you are an LPR who has committed a crime that is not an aggravated felony, you have a right to submit Form EOIR42A to the immigration judge. When looking into your particular case, the judge will take into account all of the following factors to determine whether or not to stop removal proceedings:
- How many years you have had the status of an LPR;
- Your employment history in the U.S. and work qualifications;
- Your history of paying taxes and existence of any debt;
- Your family ties in the U.S.; and
- Your health condition and medical history.
The issue of whether to cancel your deportation or not falls within a judge’s discretion, which means your case could go both ways even if you meet all the requirements (outlined above). That is why being represented by a Salt Lake City deportation defense attorney is so critical to fight your deportation when you committed a crime in the U.S. Consult with our lawyers at Familia America today. Get a free consultation by calling at 801-656-9605.