Petty crimes do not render a personal deportable. If the crime is the person's only conviction, whose sentence was suspended, or who has served less than six months in jail, with the maximum penalty being one year or less, then deportation will not be an issue. Examples of petty crime are a first time shoplifting offense, or a one time simple possession of marijuana of less than 30 grams for personal use. However, major crimes will trigger deportability. A conviction for murder, an "aggravated felony" or crimes of "moral turpitude" will permanently bar an applicant from obtaining US citizenship. Aggravated felonies refer to a broad category of criminal offenses that carry certain severe consequences for applicants seeking asylum, legal permanent resident status, citizenship and avoidance of deportation proceedings. Any non-citizen convicted of an aggravated felony loses the right to many types of immigration benefits, ie. green card and citizenship.
A conviction results not only in the denial of the application and permanent bar to citizenship, but will also result in the applicant being placed in removal proceedings. Crimes of moral turpitude include larceny, fraud, spousal abuse and DUI. Aggravated felonies include serious crimes such as rape, sexual abuse of a minor, drug trafficking, robbery, firearms trafficking, human trafficking, racketeering, terrorism, unlawful voting, child pornography, fraud of $10,000.00 or more, money laundering of $10,000.00 or more, alien smuggling, running a prostitution ring, etc. Also, any crime of violence, theft or burglary that result in a prison term of one year or more, such as marriage fraud for immigration purposes, resisting arrest, or Driving while Intoxicated (DUI) if it involves reckless or intentional behavior.
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