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Aggravated Felony Convictions & the Risk for Deportation

June 16, 2016 | Written by Dan Margolis

For people without American citizenship living in Ohio and around the country, a conviction of an “aggravated felony,” means they can be deported, regardless of their immigration status. However, according to the American Immigration Council, a range of criminal offenses falls under this particular classification, making it difficult to understand.

While there are other crimes for which an immigrant could be deported beyond aggravated felony, including those with “moral turpitude” and certain stand-alone crimes, it is only those designated as an “aggravated felony” that have the long-term punishments. Today, there are 30 different types of offenses that can be classified as an aggravated felony and they include the following:
> Consensual intercourse between teens – often referred to as “sexual abuse of a minor”
> Theft
> Failing to appear in court
> Filing a tax return that is false
> Simple battery

When the law was initially enacted in 1988, the aggravated felony category included just a few crimes of a “serious and violent nature,” which pretty much included gun and drug trafficking, and murder.
According to The Washington Post, being convicted of an aggravated felony has long-term consequences for immigrants. These consequences include deportation; lack of asylum; and without government permission, the person cannot ever come back to the U.S. Therefore, it is important for immigrants to understand what it is, especially if they plan to plead guilty to a crime.

President Obama, as part of his immigration reform, is trying to bring the definition back to more major crimes. He hopes to put some of the decision on judges to determine whether immigrants convicted of minor offenses should be granted leniency.

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