As a Miami immigration lawyer, some of my clients already know that any noncitizen whose criminal record contains an aggravated felony is most likely headed for deportation (removal) from the United States. This is true whether you have a green card or not. What many people don’t know is the fact that many of these proceedings may take place very quickly, on an “expedited” basis. Below are some frequently asked questions.
I am not a United States citizen, and I have been convicted of an aggravated felony. What could happen to me?
Aggravated felony convictions are treated very seriously under U.S. immigration law. Not only are aggravated felonies grounds for removal from the U.S., but they bar noncitizens from requesting most of the types of immigration relief open to other people in removal proceedings. If you have been convicted of an aggravated felony, you cannot ask for asylum, cancellation of removal, or most of the types of waivers that would allow going forward with a separate application for adjustment of status. If the scenario above applies to you, you may want to speak with a Miami immigration lawyer to discuss your options.
I am not a United States citizen, and I have been convicted of an aggravated felony. Do I have any options for relief?
You may have some options for relief. Please note — if you have already been convicted of an aggravated felony and are under threat of deportation, the first thing you’ll want to do is contact a Miami immigration lawyer to discuss your options. Cases involving aggravated felonies are often complex:
You can ask your Miami immigration lawyer about whether the following forms of relief are open to your specific case:
- Withholding of removal, so long as the crime was not a “particularly serious” one committed while in the United States. Withholding of removal stops the deportation of people whose life or freedom would be threatened if returned to their home country, or who would “more likely than not” face persecution there.
- U.N. Convention Against Torture (CAT) protection. This stops the deportation of people who would more likely than not be subjected to torture if returned to their home country. The definition of torture is somewhat broader for CAT protection than in the asylum context. It includes any intentional, unlawful infliction of severe physical or mental suffering or pain, with the acquiescence of a public or government official, for purposes such as punishment, extracting a confession, intimidation, or discrimination.
- Waiver under Section 212(h) of the I.N.A. (so long as the aggravated felony did not involve drugs or controlled substances and was not a violent or dangerous offense), based on extreme hardship to U.S. family members and eligibility for a family-based green card, in rare situations that are too complex to discuss here and vary among the various federal court circuits.
- “T” or “U” visa. These are available to victims of human trafficking or other serious crimes who cooperate with U.S. law enforcement authorities in investigating and prosecuting the crime. Both provide temporary status in the U.S. with the possibility of applying for a green card later.
Again, if you have any questions in regard to any of this, you should contact a Miami immigration attorney.
For more information, and assistance in defending yourself in removal proceedings, definitely consult with an experienced immigration attorney.
If you have would like to learn more about relief from deportation due to an aggravated felony, please contact Miami immigration lawyer Michael G. Murray, Esq. at (305) 895-2500 or visit our website at murraysilva.com.