For those who are in the United States on a green card or visa, it is important to comply with the law in all cases. Receiving charges for a felony can very well get noncitizens deported from the U.S. Depending on the severity of the crime, he or she may also be unable to return to the U.S. in the future.
As it pertains to immigration law, noncitizens may face charges for an aggravated felony, even if state and federal courts usually treat the offense as a misdemeanor.
What is an aggravated felony?
According to the American Immigration Council, Congress has the final say on which crimes classify as aggravated felonies. It is important to note that a crime does not necessarily have to be “aggravated” or a felony to go on this list.
The creation of the aggravated felony list began in 1988 and was originally limited to serious offenses, such as murder or drug trafficking. Since then Congress has added many other offenses to the list of aggravated felonies, including over 30 nonviolent misdemeanors.
Are aggravated felonies retroactive?
According to FindLaw, if Congress decides to add a new crime to the list of aggravated felonies, it does not only affect noncitizens who receive charges in the future. Noncitizens may be subject to deportation, even if their crime was not an aggravated felony at the time it was committed.
Deportation is not the only option for aggravated felonies, however. In some cases, Immigration officials may downgrade your status instead. Crimes involving moral turpitude are more likely to result in deportation.