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Living on the edge: Immigration and aggravated felonies

Since your arrival in the United States, you may have seen the attitudes toward immigration change with each new presidential administration. If a foreign national performs a heroic act, the press may tout all immigrants as heroes. However, if a foreign national commits a crime, suddenly all immigrants are criminals. You may sometimes feel that there is a great deal of uncertainty because of your immigration status.

Whether you have legal permanent residency or have no legal status in the country, if police accuse you of a crime, your biggest fear may be deportation. No matter how long you have been in the United States, the threat of removal is always over your head.

A special category of crimes just for immigrants

In 1988, Congress enacted a law creating a new category of crimes that apply only to immigrants. While authorities call this category "aggravated felony," the crimes included under the heading often change. Originally, aggravated felonies were very serious crimes that frequently resulted in deportation, such as:

  • Murder
  • Drug trafficking
  • Weapons trafficking

However, over the years, Congress has added more violations to the list, and some of those offenses wouldn't be felonies if a U.S. citizen faced charges for them, for example:

  • Assault
  • Theft
  • Failing to appear for a court date
  • Filing a false tax return

Additionally, the court can decide to deport you if authorities prove that you have committed a crime of moral turpitude. These offenses include elements society may consider morally unacceptable, such as the following:

  • Child abuse
  • Failing to pay taxes
  • Perjury
  • Carrying a concealed weapon

However, since there is no definitive list of these crimes, each court may make its own determination about whether an offense falls under this category.

Leveling the playing field

Like many who have immigrated to this country, you may feel that Colorado is your home. Maybe it has been years since you have been to your native country, especially if you came here to escape danger. If you are facing removal because police have accused you of committing an aggravated felony, you are undoubtedly worried about your future. Removal from the country may mean separation from your loved ones, insecurity and the loss of many opportunities for you here in Colorado.

Your best chances come with the assistance of an attorney who is dedicated to keeping families together and working to defend the rights of those seeking a better life in the United States. Having such an advocate at your side at the earliest possible opportunity will increase the possibility of a more positive outcome. Many who live in fear of deportation seek the aggressive representation of an attorney who will stand up for their freedom.

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