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Aggressive Deportation Defense Lawyers In Minneapolis For Removal Proceedings

Last updated on April 25, 2024

Wilson Law Group was founded in 2003 in Minneapolis. Our immigration attorneys and deportation defense lawyers understand how overwhelming and stressful it is to find yourself facing an immigration judge and removal proceedings, let alone criminal charges. If you have been accused of a crime, and those criminal charges are threatening your immigration status, our Minneapolis immigration lawyers have decades of experience and will fight for your freedom and the chance to remain in the United States.

Overview Of Deportable Or Removeable Offenses

A foreign national may face removal proceedings if they are convicted of or, in some cases, simply accused of any of the following:

Foreign nationals can also be removed for committing crimes involving moral turpitude. The overly broad definition and interpretation of a crime involving moral turpitude can have catastrophic consequences for a foreigner facing deportation or removal under this category.

Deportation Defense And Strategies To Fight Removal

At Wilson Law Group, our deportation defense lawyers craft creative and innovative strategies to fight against deportation and defend clients during removal proceedings. Whenever possible, our Minnesota immigration attorneys will attempt to obtain asylum or cancellation of a removal. Other strategies include applying for withholding of removal or relief under Article III of the Convention Against Torture.

In addition, our lawyers will argue against detention by fighting for bond eligibility. There can also be strategic advantages to a voluntary departure. Our immigration and deportation defense attorneys can assess the facts of your situation and use their experience to propose innovative strategies.

Removal For An Aggravated Felonies

An aggravated felony is a term that is specially defined in immigration law. A conviction can be an aggravated felony, even if it is not classified as a felony under state law. This means that some misdemeanors may be considered aggravated felonies for immigration purposes. If you have a question about whether your conviction is an aggravated felony, consult with the deportation defense attorneys at Wilson Law Group.

Aggravated felonies include (but are not limited to):

  • Murder, rape or sexual abuse of a minor
  • Illicit trafficking in a controlled substance (as defined in section 802 of Title 21), including a drug trafficking crime
  • Illicit trafficking in firearms or destructive devices or in explosive materials
  • Crime of violence (as defined in section 16 of Title 18) for which you received a sentence of at least one year in jail or prison
  • Theft offense (including receipt of stolen property) or burglary offense for which you received a sentence of at least one year in jail or prison
  • Offense involving fraud or deceit in which the loss to the victim(s) exceeds $10,000
  • Offense relating to commercial bribery, counterfeiting, forgery or trafficking in vehicles with altered VIN numbers for which you received a sentence of at least one year
  • Conviction for attempt or conspiracy to commit an aggravated felony.

An aggravated felony conviction bars a foreign national from nearly every form of relief from removal except withholding of removal or relief under Article III of the Convention Against Torture. However, post-conviction remedies may also exist.

Removal For Firearm Offenses

Firearm related offenses are a broad basis for the government to establish that a person is removable from the United States.

U.S. immigration laws have evolved to restrict more and more contact between a non-citizen and firearms just as state and federal laws have evolved to restrict access, possession and use of firearms. The initial ground for deportation targeted the possession of automatic or semi-automatic weapons (machine guns) or sawed-off shotguns. The law began changing in the late 1980s to include any firearm or revolver. The law later expanded further in the 1990s to include crimes involving attempts or conspiracy crimes related to firearm offenses.

A conviction for the violation of any law of “purchasing, selling, offering for sale, exchanging, using, owning, possessing, or carrying, or of attempting or conspiring to purchase, sell, offer for sale, exchange, use, own, possess, or carry, any weapon, part, or accessory which is a firearm or destructive device (as defined in section § 921(a) of title 18, United States Code) in violation of any law” can render a foreign national removable from the United States under section is 237(a)(2)(C) of the Immigration & Nationality Act (INA).

A “destructive device” includes any type of weapon that can propel a projectile, which a rifle, except “a rifle which the owner intends to use solely for sporting, recreational or cultural purposes.”

Certain weapons violations may also result in an aggravated felony removal charge. The aggravated felony firearm charge requires the government to demonstrate the conviction related to the illicit trafficking in any firearms or destructive device. The effect of a firearm-related conviction is greater than just establishing a ground of removal. Certain offenses can also prevent someone from applying from relief to removal, such as asylum and withholding of removal. A firearm offense of minor magnitude can have devastating impact on a person’s options if put into removal proceedings.

Removal For Drug Offenses

Offenses related to drugs may result in the most severe immigration consequences.

Federal law classifies any conviction related to the trafficking or sale of narcotics as an aggravated felony, which bars a foreign national from most forms of relief. Thus, a rigorous challenge to this type of immigration charge is necessary.

A “drug trafficking crime” for immigration purposes is “any felony punishable under the Controlled Substances Act, or the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act, or chapter 705 of title 46.” This does not mean state offenses are exempt. Rather, it means that the federal law must criminalize the drug involved. Federal and state laws must be compared and analyzed to determine whether violation of a state statute would constitute a felony or aggravated felony under federal law.

The federal government can use drug possession itself as a reason to seek removal of someone from the United States.  Section 237(a)(2)(B) of the Immigration & Nationality Act (INA) provides that any possession offense, regardless of weight or amount, is a basis for removal unless the offense is for a “single offense involving possession for one’s own use of 30 grams or less of marijuana.”  30 grams is less than one ounce.  This amount is often an issue in state courts because the state law punishes the possession of weight that exceeds 30 grams.  Such charges requires a skillful advocate to prevent what may seem like a minor possession charge from becoming the reason a person is removed from the United States permanently.  It is important to note that the exception is exclusive to marijuana, not any other drug or paraphernalia.

Federal immigration law also allows the government to remove someone whom it proves is a drug abuse or addict. The government, however, rarely seeks to removal someone using this basis because there is a criminal conviction available that eases the government’s task of establishing that a person is removable.

There is no time limit for the government to remove a person for a drug offense. Even if a person has been a lawfully admitted permanent resident for decades, a single conviction may result in the person losing his or her status in the United States.

Likewise, the violation of federal controlled substance laws under a conviction or admission is generally a bar for noncitizens to establish good moral character for naturalization purposes (even if the conduct does not violate state law).

Likewise, the violation of federal controlled substance laws under a conviction or admission is generally a bar for noncitizens to establish good moral character for naturalization purposes (even if the conduct does not violate state law).

The Minneapolis deportation defense lawyers at Wilson Law Group encourage anyone with such a charge or conviction to speak with Wilson Law Group before the federal government takes action.

Removal For Domestic Violence

The Immigration and Nationality Act allows the government to seek to remove a person for convictions related to domestic violence.

Section 237(a)(2)(E)(i) of the Immigration & Nationality Act states that a foreign national is removable if he or she has been convicted of a domestic-related crime that has an element of a “crime of violence” consistent with the definition found in 18 U.S.C. § 16. The immigration court will look to the state law to determine if the conviction required the state to show a “domestic” relationship between the actor and the victim. This is typically not the area of disagreement in an immigration proceeding.

The focus is often instead on the degree of violence needed under state law to trigger a violation of the federal immigration law. The degree of violence needed is:

  • An offense that has as an element of use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another
  • Any other offense that is a felony and that, by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense

Courts have identified that the “physical force” necessary to establish that an offense is a “crime of violence” is violent force – that is, force capable of causing physical pain or injury to another person. Slightly offensive touching or putting someone in fear of possible contact should not result in removal.

The federal government is still advocating a much broader interpretation of force to ensnare many more people into removal proceedings.

Wilson Law Group continues to lead the litigation against the government’s campaign to inflict the devastating consequence of removal on someone for the smallest disagreement. If you have a record for a domestic-related crime, or you are facing such a charge now as a non-citizen, our Minneapolis immigration attorneys can evaluate your case and defend your freedom.

Removal For The Violation Of A Protective Order

The government can seek to remove someone because of a technical violation of a domestic-related restraint statute without any actual violent conduct. This ground of removal requires a comprehensive response that resists the government’s efforts to classify all court-ordered restraints.

Section 237(a)(2)(E) of the Immigration & Nationality Act relates to crimes of violence, specifically in the context of domestic or intimate relationships. Subsection (ii) of this provision extends the disqualification to those who committed a crime of violence in the violation of an order of protection. Congress limited the reach of 237(a)(2)(E)(ii) by restricting it to violations of a portion of a protection order aimed at violent, threatening and harassing behavior.

The term “protection order” means any injunction issued for the purpose of preventing violent or threatening acts of domestic violence, including temporary or final orders issued by civil or criminal courts (other than support or child custody orders or provisions) whether obtained by filing an independent action or as a pendente lite order in another proceeding.

Each state has many different types of personal restraint laws. Violating a restraint law does not automatically result in an immigration violation. In addition, many states have different degrees of restraint. Violation of one form may trigger an immigration violation whereas violation of a lesser form may not. A harassment restraining order, for example, is substantially different from an Order for Protection. Many harassment restraining statutes do not rely on violent or threatening acts. They are nuisance statutes designed to prevent a range of public nuisances. Orders for Protection, however, are issued by the court in cases of domestic abuse, which include situations where there has been physical harm, injury or assault, threats of domestic violence, or terroristic threats against a family or household member.

Any allegation of an immigration violation because of an alleged violation requires careful review. Our Minneapolis immigration attorneys aggressively defend against the removal of a person by challenging the government’s version of truth and its often overly broad interpretation of federal and state law.

Removal For Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude And FAQs

There is no clear definition of what constitutes a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT). Courts have said that crimes involving moral turpitude are “inherently base, vile, and depraved.” However, often even relatively minor crimes are considered to involve moral turpitude. Common crimes involving moral turpitude include theft and fraud.

Here, our deportation defense lawyers answer some of your frequently asked questions about CIMTs.

Are there any exceptions if I am inadmissible as a result of a crime involving moral turpitude?

Yes, there are two exceptions. If a crime was admitted both when the foreign national was under 18 years of age and more than five years before the date of application for a visa or admission, inadmissibility should not result.

The other exception is where the maximum penalty possible for the crime of which the foreign national committed (or admitted) did not exceed imprisonment for one year and the foreign national was not sentenced to a term of imprisonment in excess of six months. This latter exception is often referred to as the “petty offense” exception.

Is a conviction always necessary?

No, you may be deemed inadmissible even without a conviction if you admit to committing a CIMT or acts which constitute the essential elements of a CIMT.

What if I have already been admitted to the United States? What crimes might affect my status?

Committing a CIMT for which a sentence of one year or longer may be imposed within five years of the foreign national’s admission renders a foreign national removable from the United States.

If you are facing a charge or have questions about the immigration consequences of a conviction, our Minnesota deportation defense attorneys can evaluate your case.

Schedule A Free Case Evaluation With A Deportation Defense Lawyer

Our immigration attorneys have vast experience in defending individuals from criminal offenses before there is a conviction and in defending against the federal government’s effort to remove a person for such an offense.

Please contact us by calling 612-430-8022 or sending us an email to discuss your situation and schedule your free appointment. We will provide a frank assessment and develop an assertive strategy for you.