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Criminal convictions may affect immigration

Some South Carolina residents may be interested in how immigration is affected by commission of a felony. A foreign national may be subject to deportation and other consequences if he or she is convicted of a felony. The consequences are determined by the offense, the status the individual holds and the discretion of the court.

The foreign national may be deported if he or she is a refugee or legal permanent resident. Legal permanent residents may face prison time if they return to the United States once removed. Those with immigrant visas or a temporary form of protected status may also be deported. A person who is granted asylum may be kept from attaining legal permanent resident status aside from deportation.

There are two basic categories of crimes to consider. These include crimes that are considered aggravated felonies such as murder, firearm and drug trafficking, theft, fraud involving taxes, battery, not appearing in court and some types of consensual sex involving teens. Such crimes usually result in the deportation of the individual. Crimes that may be considered a misdemeanor might be significant in terms of immigration. Some crimes are considered to be contrary to community standards. Such behavior is classified as conduct involving moral turpitude and may include tax evasion, child abuse, carrying concealed weapons, wire fraud and perjury. The definition and use of such designations varies considerably.

Deportation depends on several variables that immigration officials use to determine if the individual will be removed from the country. An attorney may provide insight into the options available. If a foreign national is charged with a crime in the United States, it may be beneficial to seek the advice of an attorney. The attorney may provide guidance into challenging the charges and avoiding conviction. If conviction occurs, the attorney may help an individual challenge deportation.

Source: Findlaw, "How Does a Felony Affect Immigration Status?", January 02, 2015

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