After all of the time and effort that went into you and/or your loved ones gaining entry into the United States, the thought of one of you facing deportation can be downright terrifying. Avoiding any actions that could jeopardize your lawful status in Colorado is key.
Yet what would happen if law enforcement authorities arrest you (or your loved one)? Would an arrest automatically lead to deportation, or is a conviction required?
Deportation for an arrest
Typically an arrest alone is not enough to justify deporting you; a criminal conviction is usually required. There are, however, exceptions to this rule. Any offenses related to drug abuse and/or distribution could result in deportation even in the absence of a conviction.
Federal immigration law states that “crimes of moral turpitude” justify deportation. These may include:
- Intent to harm persons or property
Defense from deportation
You can defend against your potential deportation (or that of your loved one) even if you are facing a criminal conviction. It is important to remember that your deportation is typically handled by immigration officials and not those prosecuting the crime that you (or your loved one) stand accused of. Prosecutors can, however, offer defense from deportation as part of a potential plea agreement. However, you should verify that immigration officials have authorized them to do so.
Per the U.S. Department of Justice, you can petition to have your deportation suspended. To qualify, you have to remain in the U.S. for at least 10 years from the date of the offense that warranted your deportation and show that you displayed good moral character during that time. Your suspension would also require the approval of the U.S. Attorney General.