Legal permanent residents in South Carolina could face deportation proceedings if they are convicted of certain types of crimes. In general, aggravated felony convictions lead to deportation, and misdemeanor convictions do not. However, there are some misdemeanors that are considered aggravated felonies in terms of immigration law.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement usually deports permanent residents who have been convicted of drug crimes, aggravated felonies, crimes with possible prison sentences of more than one year or 'moral turpitude" crimes. For a permanent resident to be deported for a moral turpitude crime, the crime must have been committed within the first five years after the person gained permanent resident status. Two moral turpitude crimes involving separate incidents would also be reason for deportation.
Moral turpitude crimes are crimes like murder, attempted murder, assault with intent to cause serious bodily harm, rape or burglary. Crimes like perjury, bribery, blackmail and receiving stolen goods are also crimes that involve moral turpitude for immigration purposes. Crimes that do not involve moral turpitude and usually do not result in orders for removal include things like unlawful gambling, violations of government regulations, public drunkenness or simple assault. Even if a drug conviction is a misdemeanor, drug-related convictions often result in deportation of permanent residents.
An immigration law attorney may be able to provide insight into the possible implications that a criminal conviction may have on a person's permanent resident status. If a conviction results in deportation proceedings, an attorney may be able to help a permanent resident to apply for waivers or dispute the removal order. An attorney may also be able to help a permanent resident to apply for citizenship.