When is a criminal conviction considered serious?

101(a)(43), of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, Pub. L. No. 82-414, 66 Stat. 163, 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(43).

Copyright 1999, 2000 VIKRAM BADRINATH, P.C. All rights reserved.


Under the immigration laws, if an alien (lawful permanent resident, undocumented alien, nonimmigrant visitor, etc) has been convicted of a criminal offense, then he may be subjected to a proceeding to "revoke" his lawful permanent resident status, visitor visa, or other permit/visa, and be removed from the United States. If an alien is ordered deported, excluded, or removed from the United States he may not return for varying specified periods of time, without the filing of an Application to Reenter After Deportation/Removal.

If an alien has been convicted of a certain type of offense, it may constitute or be considered an "aggravated felony" under the immigration laws. It is important to note that although an offense may not have been considered "aggravated" under State law, it may still be considered "aggravated" under Federal law, pursuant to 101(a)(43) of the Immigration & Nationality Act. See also, 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(43).

Under new amendments made to the Immigration & Nationality Act, a conviction for an "aggravated felony" has the following consequences:

Hence, the consequences, therefore, of having been convicted of an "aggravated felony" are drastic. As such, the U.S. INS is constantly attempting to expand the scope and reach of the "aggravated felony" definition to deport and remove aliens from the United States. See e.g., Matter of Magallanes, Interim Decision 3341 (BIA 1997) (holding that a conviction for "driving under the influence" is a deportable offense and an "aggravated felony").

Application of "Aggravated Felony" Definition

The following types of categories have been defined by the U.S. Congress in determining what offenses are deemed to be aggravated felonies:

The above listed definitions that may make a conviction an "aggravated felony" may apply to an offense whether it is in violation of Federal or State law, and may also apply to foreign convictions for which a term of imprisonment was completed within the last fifteen (15) years.

The Congress of the United States has declared that these new amendments and definitions shall apply to convictions entered "before, on, or after" September 30, 1996. Hence, although a conviction may have occurred twenty, thirty, forty, or even fifty years ago, an alien may now, suddenly, find himself facing deportation or removal from the United States for twenty years or forever!

For more information about whether a particular conviction may constitute an "aggravated felony", please contact us by email, telephone, or fax or schedule an appointment to have your individual case discussed and analyzed an attorney.