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Can I Be Removed From the U.S. Even if I Have a Green Card?

Having a green card gives you certain rights in the U.S. However, even after you obtain a green card, you could be deported from the U.S. under certain circumstances.

What Does it Mean to Have a Green Card?

Having a green card means that someone is a permanent resident and is authorized to live and work in the U.S. by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You can receive permanent resident status if you fall under at least one of the following categories according to USCIS:

  • through family — if you’re an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, another relative of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, fiancé of a U.S. citizen or the fiancé’s child, widow(er);
  • through employment;
  • through asylee or refugee status;
  • if you are a human trafficking victim, crime victim, or victim of abuse; or
  • if you have lived continuously in the U.S. since before January 1, 1972.

How Can I Be Deported if I Have a Green Card?

Despite having a green card, there are still reasons you could be deported from the U.S. To be deported, you would have to commit a crime or action that would result in being removed from the country. For example:

Committing a Crime

If you are convicted of certain crimes, that could be grounds for deportation. Those crimes include:

  • aggravated felonies — these are considered serious crimes in the U.S. and include convictions for actions such as murder, rape, drug trafficking, fraud, or theft (if the total amount is more than $10,000), and illegal re-entry into the country after deportation.
  • crimes involving moral turpitude — the courts define this as conduct that is vile or immoral in common society, including attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and obstruction of justice. You could be removed from the U.S. if you committed one of these types of crimes within five years of receiving your green card and/or committed these types of crimes more than once.
  • crimes of violence — this is defined as an offense when someone used, attempted to use, or threatened to use physical action against someone else or any other felony that involves those same specifications.

Voting as a U.S. Citizen

Being a U.S. citizen means a person is lawfully allowed to vote in elections compared to those who only have green cards. However, being a U.S. citizen also means that person is allowed to serve on juries. If someone who has a green card portrays themselves as a U.S. citizen and tries to vote, that person could be deported.

Those who have a green card are allowed to have a driver’s license. Those who are renewing or making changes to their license should be careful not to register to vote while updating their driver’s license since many bureaus of motor vehicles are also voting registration sites.

Failure to Change Your Address

If you move and have a green card, you are required to change your address with USCIS. For most people, this process can easily be done online on the USCIS website. However, those who have previously filed an I-751 abuse waiver will need to complete the change of address Form AR-11 and mail it in.

What To Do If You Feel You Might be Deported From the U.S.

If you are concerned that you may be removed from the U.S. you’ll want legal representation immediately. At Magilligan Law we’ve helped others facing deportation stay in the U.S. and with their families. We specialize in immigration law and know how to help you when you’re facing a tough situation. Contact our offices today at (954) 883-9122.

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