Criminal Defense of Immigrants
§ 2.18 C. Discretionary Relief May be Unavailable
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Aggravated felonies are not the only category of criminal convictions to trigger deportation. Convictions of firearms offenses, drug offenses, domestic violence offenses, a broad category of crimes of moral turpitude, in addition to a number of one-shot offenses, all can trigger deportation. While noncitizens subject to deportation for these other categories may be eligible to apply for relief from deportation in immigration court, (a) they may not have the seven years lawful presence before commission of the deportable offense required for eligibility to apply for relief, or (b) the immigration judge may conclude as a matter of discretion to deny the relief. In those cases, deportability for non-aggravated felonies is just as bad as for aggravated felonies themselves: it is in effect mandatory.