Grounds of Deportation

There are many grounds that can cause a person to be deported under the United States Immigration Law. We list most of the grounds below:

The person was inadmissible at the time of entry into the U.S.

This includes many inadmissibility grounds such as convicted crime, false representation of being a U.S. citizen, insufficient passport expiration date and invalid visa.

The Person violated his or her Non-immigrant Status During the Stay in the U.S.

This situation can arise such as work without proper authorization or overstay the permitted authorized period of status or otherwise violation of the terms under a non-immigrant status.

The Person Becomes a Public Charge

A person may subject to deportation if the Attorney General opines that he or she has become a public charge within 5 years of entry from causes not shown at the time of entry.

Failure to Register and Falsification of Documents

A person is deportable if he or she either (a) commits document fraud; (b) fails to notify the USCIS in writing of address change as required by law; or (c) claim false U.S. citizenship.

Illegal Voting

A person who votes in violation of any federal, state, or local government law is deportable.

Criminal Grounds
  • An alien or lawful permanent residence (green card holder) is deportable if the person is convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude and was committed within 5 years of admission and the crime convicted may impose a sentence of one year or longer.
  • An alien or lawful permanent residence is deportable if after admission the person is convicted of two crimes involving moral turpitude and the two crimes arose not from one single scheme of criminal conduct.
  • An alien or lawful permanent residence is deportable if committing aggravated felonies at any time after admission.


There are several ways to have relief from being deported. The most common ways are as follows:

Adjustment of Status

A US citizen’s parent, spouse, widow or child may be able to apply for adjustment of status to the Immigration Judge to become a lawful permanent resident (green card). If an immediate relative of a US citizen is ordered to appear before an Immigration Court for certain reason, the person may be able to obtain permanent residence based upon their marriage, or the marriage of their alien parent, to a U.S. citizen.

Apply for Asylum and/or Withholding of Deportation

Those who have a well-founded fear of persecution if they return to their home country may apply for asylum if their fear is from one of more of the following grounds:

  1. Political opinion;
  2. Religious belief;
  3. Nationality;
  4. Race; and
  5. Membership in a particular social group.

If a person is granted asylum, after one year they may apply for permanent resident status (green card). If asylum cannot be granted, withholding of deportation may be applied. It is different from asylum in two ways: (1) It does not permit the person to apply for permanent residence, and (2) it only prohibits the USCIS from deporting the alien to one particular country. The person may be deported to a third country.

Cancellation of Removal for Permanent Residents

INA §240A(a) authorizes the cancellation the removal of a lawful permanent resident (LPR) from the U.S. if all the following conditions are met:

  1. The LPR has had the status for at least five years;
  2. The LPR has resided continuously in the U.S. for at least seven years after being admitted to the U.S. in any status;
  3. The LPR has not been convicted of any aggravated crime; and
  4. The LPR is not inadmissible from the U.S. on security grounds. Several classes of persons are not eligible for cancellation of removal:(1) Certain crewmen; (2) Exchange visitors (in “J” status) who received medical training in the U.S.; (3) Persons who have persecuted others; (4) Persons who have previously been granted cancellation of removal, suspension of deportation (See below.) or relief under §212(c); and (5) Persons who committed certain criminal offenses prior to the accrual of the required seven years.

The Immigration Judge considers positive and negatives factors on the LPR judge on granting Cancellation of Removal. Positive factors include: (1) Family ties within the U.S.; (2) Long time residency in the U.S.; (3) Hardship to person and immediate family if deported; (4) U.S. Armed Force service, if any; (5) Employment history; (6) Ownership of property and business ties; (7) Community Service; (8) Rehabilitation (if criminal record exists); and (9) Good moral character. Negative factors include: (1) Nature and circumstances of exclusion grounds; (2) Immigration law violations; (3) Criminal record; and (4) Evidence of bad moral character.

Cancellation of Removal for Non-Permanent Residents

INA §240A(a) authorizes the cancellation the removal of a non-permanent resident from the U.S. if all the following conditions are met:

  1. The non-LPR has been physically present in the U.S. for a continuous period of ten years prior to the institution of removal proceedings. “Continuous” means that the person can not be out of the U.S. for more than 90 days at a time, or 180 days in the aggregate, during the ten-year period. This requirement does not apply to persons who have served a minimum of 24 months in the U.S. Armed Forces, was present in the U.S. during his enlistment or induction, and is either serving honorably or has received an honorable discharge.
  2. The non-LPR has had good moral character for at least ten years;
  3. The non-LPR is not inadmissible under INA §212(a)(2), (3) (criminal and security grounds); or not deportable under §237(a)(1)(G) (marriage fraud), (2) (criminal grounds), (3) (failure to register and falsification of documents) or (4) (security and related grounds).
  4. Removal of the non-LPR would result in exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to his/her spouse, parent, or child, who is a citizen of the United States or a LPR.

The immigration law enumerates various grounds by which an alien in the United States may be subject to removal from the U.S. A common ground of removability provides that an alien may be subject to removal if he was excludable when he entered the United States. There are many grounds of removability found in the law.

Eligibility for waivers of removability depend upon the alien’s ability to establish hardship to himself or to his close family members if he were to be removed from the U.S. For example, a person who has committed fraud or a material misrepresentation may apply for a waiver under §212(i) if the failure to admit him to the U.S. would result in “extreme hardship” to his lawful permanent resident (LPR) or U.S. citizen (USC) spouse or parents. Similarly, a person who is excludable on certain criminal grounds may be eligible for a waiver under §212(h) if the failure to admit him to the U.S. would result in “extreme hardship” to his LPR or USC spouse, parent(s), son(s) or daughter(s).

Certain types of waivers such as relief for long-term permaennt residents under section 212(c) do not require that the permanent resident have relatives in the U.S. although the presence of such relatives is definitely a positive factor.

Voluntary Departure

The last resort of relief from deportation, if nothing else works, is to apply for a voluntary departure from the United States. The benefit of it is to avoid both the stigma and unfavorable legal consequences to return to the United States in the future. Voluntary departure is available for aliens who are deportable not because of aggravated grounds, who can afford to pay for their departure from the U.S., who agree to depart within a period of time granted by the Immigration Judge, and who can establish good moral character during the previous five-year period.

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