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Houston Immigration Lawyers > Blog > Immigration > Does A Green Card Protect You From Deportation?

Does A Green Card Protect You From Deportation?


A green card allows foreign citizens to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis.

Even though those with a green card are considered “permanent residents” of the United States, this doesn’t necessarily mean that those who hold a green card cannot be deported.

Can You Still Be Deported If You Have A Green Card? 

The simplest answer to this question is “Yes.” Certain circumstances and situations can, and will, lead to an individual with a green card being deported.

The easiest ways for an immigrant to get deported are as follows:

  • Acquiring a green card that is based on certain conditions – being married to a U.S. citizen, for example – which are, at this time, no longer present.
  • Knowingly smuggling, or attempting to smuggle, an illegal immigrant into the United States.
  • Getting married and then terminating the marriage two-years afterwards; unless the immigrant can prove otherwise, this is considered a fraudulent marriage.
  • Being convicted of a drug crime in the United States, or any other country, after receiving a green card.
  • Being addicted to illegal drugs or abusing illegal drugs.
  • Failing to register as a sex offender.
  • Committing a crime of moral turpitude within five years after entering the United States and, for this crime, receiving a sentence of at least one-year.
  • Committing two crimes of moral turpitude at any point after entering the United States.
  • Spending 180 days outside of the United States

The last two circumstances/situations are worth noting as a crime of moral turpitude is both defined quite broadly and punished quite harshly.

What Are Crimes Of Moral Turpitude? 

A crime of moral turpitude is a crime that is considered morally reprehensible and intrinsically wrong. On a general basis, this descriptor is used for crimes that involve the intent to:

  • Deprive someone of their property.
  • Defraud an individual.
  • Cause significant bodily harm.

Even if the final result was none of the above, so long as the intent to do so can be proven, such actions are considered a crime of moral turpitude.

Some examples of crimes of moral turpitude are as follows:

  • Murder
  • Sexual assault
  • Kidnapping
  • Child abuse
  • Robbery
  • Voluntary manslaughter
  • Involuntary manslaughter
  • Incest
  • Bigamy

Outside of committing a crime of moral turpitude, immigrants who are found to have been an accessory to a crime of moral turpitude can also be deported.

Can You Be Deported For A Misdemeanor? 

The answer to this is dependent on the misdemeanor. But, as a general rule, it’s unlikely for an immigrant to be deported for a misdemeanor.

Within the state of Texas, even the highest sentences for misdemeanor crimes must, by law, last for no more than one-year. Since this is the case, an immigrant cannot be deported for committing just one misdemeanor, even if it is considered a crime of moral turpitude.

All of that being said, if the immigrant has committed more than one crime of moral turpitude, then deportation is possible. Such an outcome is unlikely, given the misdemeanor sentence, but it is possible.

Speak With A Skilled Houston Immigration Lawyer 

Many circumstances and situations can lead to you, or someone else you know, being deported. This is true even if you have a green card and have been residing in the United States for some time.

Speak with a skilled Houston immigration lawyer today. We will go over the legal options available and assist you in creating the best possible outcome.






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