As many immigrants in the greater Detroit area already know by anecdote, there are certain criminal convictions that can put the status of a permanent legal resident, commonly known as a green card holder, in jeopardy.

Specifically, federal law lists certain types of crimes that can result in deportation if a Michigan resident gets convicted of them.


For one, there are many felony offenses which can get a permanent resident deported even for a single offense. For instance, many felony offenses related to the unlawful sale of drugs and firearms can result in deportation, as can certain financial crimes and sex crimes.

Any felony for which an immigrant receives a sentence of 5 years or more also can lead to deportation.

Crimes of moral turpitude

Lawful permanent residents who commit crimes of moral turpitude also may face deportation. The problem with these types of crimes is that there is no precise definition for crimes of moral turpitude.

Some crimes that may seem like they would fit in this category do not, while other seemingly more minor offenses are considered crimes of moral turpitude.

The key point though is that even misdemeanor offenses can qualify as a crime of moral turpitude. If a person receives a sentence of at least one year, even if it gets suspended to probation, then deportation is possible if the person committed the offense within 5 years of their coming to the United States.

Moreover, more than one crime of moral turpitude can result in deportation.

Drug offenses and deportation

Even if they are not felonies or crimes of moral turpitude, certain drug offenses, including simple possession charges, can lead to deportation in certain circumstances.

For instance, possession of federally controlled substances, except for relatively small amounts of marijuana, can lead to deportation, as can convictions or even charges which suggest a drug addiction.

Legal options

A permanent resident living in Michigan and who is facing any criminal charge should strongly consider their legal options about how to deal with their charge. They should also make sure to understand and have proper advice about what could happen to their status if they get convicted. Finally, they may need to consider how to deal with a potential deportation case.