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Is Losing a Green Card Grounds for Deportation?

The permanent resident card (“green card”) issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is formally known as Form I-551. It’s issued upon satisfactory adjudication of Form I-485, also known as Adjustment of Status. This official document can be lost or stolen, but it can also be replaced by means of filing a Form I-90 along with a $455 fee. Misplacing a green card would never be considered grounds for deportation. However, in some cases, USCIS officials can revoke green cards, which means the immigrants holding those cards lose their permanent status.

Permanent residents are granted rights and benefits that allow them to live and work in the U.S., but these rights are somewhat limited and can be taken away. While there’s a burden on immigrants to abide by the lawful conditions of their permanent residency status, there’s also a burden on USCIS to uphold revocation. The chances of being deported are increased by revocation, but they don’t automatically turn into a removal situation, because this is something only an immigration court can determine. Some of the reasons for green card revocation include:

  • Criminal actions – This is based on sections of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which states that non-citizens can be deported if they’re convicted of certain crimes. The INA is somewhat nebulous in this regard because of language such as “moral turpitude,” which is highly subjective and open to great interpretation. Should you be informed that your residency status has been revoked because of a crime, you should immediately contact immigration lawyers in San Diego or your place of residence.
  • Abandonment of residency – While this situation generally affects conditional residents, green card holders may also find themselves in a legal loophole that results in revocation. Staying away from the U.S. for more than six months can be considered an intention to reside in another country, and it can be exacerbated by the failure to file tax returns.
  • Immigration fraud – This is an easier way for USCIS to revoke permanent residency status, and it can accelerate the deportation and removal process unless a legal strategy is pursued. For example, determination of a sham marriage would give USCIS adjudicators a strong reason for revocation. In other cases, failure to file a change of address using Form AR-11 may also be considered immigration fraud unless the underlying situation is cleared up.

In 2019, the Trump administration imposed new guidelines related to immigrants who receive welfare benefits. A new policy established by the Department of Homeland Security gives USCIS adjudicators more flexibility when issuing Notices to Appear (NTAs) to immigrants who may have enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as “food stamps.” Other programs covered under this policy include Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and even subsidized health insurance for children. Immigrants who receive these NTAs should seek legal counsel as soon as possible.

When they need assistance with any issues relating to U.S. citizenship and immigration services, San Diego residents should reach out to the experienced attorneys at KS Visa Law. From green cards to family immigration to naturalization, we can address all your immigration-related needs. Call us today at 858-874-0711 to schedule an appointment.

November 2019
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