In May 2023, federal prosecutors issued an indictment against United States Representative George Santos, a Brazilian-American investor who has been caught in an intricate web of alleged lies, fraud, and money laundering. However, some voters in his New York district were disappointed to learn that he wasn’t charged with a deportable offense, specifically immigration fraud. Santos has lived a shadowy life. He has claimed to have been born in New York, but a January report published by The New York Times suggests he may have been born in Brazil and that he entered a marriage of convenience to become a naturalized citizen of the United States.
Within the convoluted Santos saga, a group of concerned voters has filed a lawsuit to compel an investigation into his cloudy immigration status. Should the lawsuit prevail, and if Santos committed fraud through a sham marriage, his naturalization certificate could be revoked, and a judge could enter a removal order. If he’s convicted of the other alleged offenses concerning fraud and misuse of public funds, he wouldn’t be subject to deportation if he is indeed a naturalized citizen. Thus, Santos’s situation provides a good example to showcase what foreigners should know about crime, punishment, and deportation in the U.S. If you have any questions about your own status in this regard, contact a San Diego immigration lawyer to get personalized advice.
What Crimes Can Get You Deported from the U.S.?
Let’s say the lawsuit filed by New York voters reveals Santos isn’t a naturalized citizen at all. In this scenario, he would be an immigrant of undetermined status, thus leaving him open for deportation if convicted of the aforementioned charges. This is important to understand because naturalized citizens are protected from deportation and removal, but the protection doesn’t apply to immigration fraud. Here are some of the crimes that can get you deported if you’re here on a visa or have a green card:
- Aggravated felonies, such as murder, rape, and drug trafficking
- Crimes of moral turpitude, such as fraud, theft, and domestic violence
- Certain drug offenses, even if they’re not considered aggravated felonies
- Crimes involving violence against a government official
- Crimes that involve national security or are tantamount to terrorism
- Crimes you commit as an undocumented migrant
With regard to crimes of moral turpitude, this has always been a nebulous provision of the Immigration and Naturalization Act. If we look at the general definition of moral turpitude, we could shoehorn dozens of crimes therein. American immigration judges have ample latitude to interpret “moral turpitude,” and this latitude includes applying common sense. If a green card holder received a Notice of Deportation because he or she was caught in possession of a small amount of cannabis, immigration law firms can frame an affirmative defense that appeals to judicial common sense.
Immigration lawyers in San Diego, CA, look at all angles of a case involving deportation orders issued after arrests and convictions. Even if your immigration status isn’t fully determined or settled, adequate legal representation may allow you to avoid being deported and banned from reentering.
If you need the services of a reliable, trustworthy San Diego immigration lawyer, reach out to KS Visa Law today. We specialize in naturalization, family law immigration, temporary employment visas, and much more. Call 858-874-0711 to schedule an appointment.