While not all crimes will trigger immigration consequences, many will. It is important to understand that anyone here in the United States who is not a US citizen is subject to deportation. That includes those who are legal residents of the United States (green card holders), those who are here legally on a valid visa, and those who are undocumented. Should you or a loved one be arrested for a crime, please consult with an experienced immigration attorney to go over your options and put you in the best position possible to fight any sort of deportation case that might stem from the criminal conviction.


Simple assault under Texas law has recently been held to not constitute a crime involving moral turpitude. However, more serious forms of assault may constitute crimes involving moral turpitude or may be considered aggravated felony crimes of violence.

Generally if an undocumented individual is arrested for DWI, that is the easiest way Immigration and Customs Enforcement will become aware of the person’s undocumented status and commence removal proceedings against the individual. DWIs carry strict consequences in that if one is undocumented or in many times on a valid visa, the DWI will place the individual in deportation proceedings. Usually ICE will use the DWI arrest or conviction as reasoning for denying issuing an immigration bond to the individual.

Drug possession acts like the kiss of death in immigration; if the person is undocumented typically a drug possession conviction makes them permanently ineligible for any type of immigration relief before an immigration judge outside of withholding of removal. If the person has a green card, a drug possession conviction will typically make that legal resident deportable unless the drug possession conviction was no more than one possession of marijuana conviction for which the amount of marijuana was less than 30 grams. However, if a legal permanent resident has a drug possession conviction involving possession of marijuana less than 30 grams and the resident travels internationally and seeks reentry to the United States, that resident would be deemed inadmissible to the United States.

Generally crimes involving theft and fraud tend to involve what is called “moral turpitude.” Crimes involving moral turpitude are a ground of inadmissibility to the United States and deportability.


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How can you help someone who has been charged with a crime?

We are able to help someone who has been charged with a crime in many ways. First, if a client is undocumented or is a legal permanent resident and is charged with a crime, it is very important that in addition to obtaining an experienced criminal lawyer, the client consults with and retains an immigration lawyer as their counsel. This is because criminal arrests and convictions tend to affect those without US citizenship differently and more harshly than those who are US citizens.


If a charge is pending, we are able to help by consulting with the criminal lawyer to try to find the best resolution possible regarding immigration.

Can someone be deported automatically if he or she has been arrested or convicted of a crime?

Not necessarily. If the person who has committed a crime is undocumented, then upon arrest typically Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will place a hold on that individual and then typically the individual will be placed in deportation proceedings at which they will have a hearing before an immigration judge to determine whether they qualify for any relief from deportation. If an individual who already has a final order of removal commits a crime, typically ICE will want to execute that order once criminal proceedings are completed.


Legal Permanent Residents may be deported for crimes. Specifically if a criminal conviction renders a resident subject to deportability under the provisions codified in section 237 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Department of Homeland Security may choose to place the resident in removal proceedings. Legal permanent residents may be deported for having been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude committed within 5 years after the date of admission for which a sentence of one year or longer may be imposed, for having been convicted of 2 crimes involving moral turpitude at any time after admission, for having been convicted of an aggravated felony, for having been convicted of a controlled substance violation, and for having been convicted of certain firearms offenses, among others. There are many different grounds of deportability which relate to underlying criminal activity; if you are a legal permanent resident and have been convicted of a crime or if you are a legal permanent resident and have been arrested for a crime, please contact us immediately to discuss possible immigration consequences.