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Explaining an aggravated felony

An aggravated felony is a serious crime that can prevent you from remaining in the country if you have any type of immigration status. Should you be convicted of an aggravated felony, you will lose your chance for asylum and naturalization on a permanent basis. There is no form of appeal once you are convicted that can help you regain your immigration status in the United States.

Some of the most common crimes that can be charged as aggravated felonies include the following:

  • Sexual abuse of a minor
  • Rape
  • Murder
  • Illicit trafficking of a destructive device
  • Crimes involving the trafficking of drugs or illicit items
  • Money laundering of more than $10,000
  • Offensives involving arson or explosive
  • Offenses under the RICO act
  • Child pornography crimes
  • Owning, managing or controlling a business of prostitution
  • Crimes involving spying or national security
  • Failure to disclose treason or committing treason
  • Tax evasion of $10,000 or more
  • Fraud crimes worth $10,000 or more
  • Obstruction of justice or perjury

The aggravated felony term first appeared in immigration law in the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988. It was designed to add a secondary grounds for deportation for the most serious crimes a person can commit in order to make it easier to deport criminals.

As you can see by the list above, there are plenty of crimes that can be considered aggravated felonies -- and it only takes one to put you on the wrong side of the law. It's important that you work with an experienced criminal defense attorney when charged with an aggravated felony or else you can risk losing your immigration status in the country.

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