Deportation is one of the main fears immigrants have – and rightly so. There are many reasons an individual might be forced out of the US. Criminal activity and misrepresented paperwork are just two that could lead to deportation proceedings. Here are some other reasons why you might be deported:
- You are here illegally. If the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) finds out you are living here illegally, it has the right to deport you. This can be the result of failing to complete the application process or a consequence of certain types of fraud. The organization also has the right to deport anyone who is not a US citizen, provided it has a sufficient reason for doing so.
- If you are convicted on a charge of drug trafficking, human trafficking, violent crimes, prostitution, or other serious offenses, you could be deported. Depending on the circumstances, one misdemeanor may not warrant deportation. Numerous and more serious crimes, however, could mean you will have to leave this country for a certain period of time or even permanently.
- Even if you are not a convicted felon or repeat offender, you can be deported for small citations and misdemeanors if you have a history of bad behavior. In some cases, it may be better to go before an immigration court than criminal court, since an immigration court will allow you to provide character witnesses to prove your overall good behavior.
- Marriage fraud. Many people wrongfully believe they can use marriage as a means of entry into the US. If ICE finds out that you misled them (e.g., you get a divorce soon after coming here or there are documents that prove fraud), it has the right to deport you.
- Other types of fraud. If your paperwork is faulty in some way, and the error was intentional, you may be accused of fraudulent activity. This may also be grounds for deportation, depending on the circumstances.
- Green card or visa expiration. As a legal immigrant or visitor, it is your responsibility to renew your status in this country. If you fail to do so, you are no longer here legally – and the government is free to deport you.
- You ignore the terms of your status. Some legal immigrants are allowed to stay providing they follow a certain set of conditions. If there are conditions to your status, you must follow them. Failing to do so could lead to deportation.
- You moved and did not tell the government. Although this rarely happens, if you move and do not notify US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the government reserves the right to deport you. You have 10 days to report your change of address, and you can use an online form to do so.
- You try to receive welfare or other forms of public assistance. When you apply to come to the US legally, it is with the understanding that your sponsor will support you. The US government has no obligation to provide for you. If you use public assistance programs, that is an indication that you should not have been granted a green card, and you could be deported.
There are other reasons you may be deported, but these are some of the major ones. The good news is that being threatened with deportation does not always mean you will actually be forced to leave the country. You have the right to appeal the decision, but you may need the help of a knowledgeable immigration attorney. If you or someone you know is being threatened with deportation, reach out to the Law Office of David A. Breston.