Interviewer: If a person is not US citizen, how does committing a crime affect them?
Brian Geno: If they are not US citizen and they commit a crime that could cause them to be deported, okay, and then they are deported, then they will not be able to return because the deportation requires them to be out of the United States for 10 years. There are certain exceptions in the law that allows a he person who’s once deported to come back but as a practical matter, I’ve never seen it work.
A Person Who Has Obtained US Citizenship Cannot be Deported for Committing a Crime
So, once you get deported, you’re stuck out there for 10 years and so, you might as well make arrangements for either letting your family go or bringing your family with you because you can’t join them in United States unless you sneak back in illegally, and that makes a person sort of like the underground person, the criminal underground. If you get caught, it’s bad for you. I do know people who have returned to this country two, three, four, five times after being deported and it’s not a great way to live, it’s horrible. So, US citizenship does give you a very important right and that is, that you cannot be deported after that. And so, wherever your family is, you can go there if you’re a US citizen.
There is a Ten Year Waiting Period For an Individual Who Has been Deported to Return to the United States
Interviewer: If someone was deported once, is there a chance for them to actually become a citizen after that and they come back to the States?
Brian Geno: You’d have to wait outside the country for 10 years so that you could come back in. And once you come back in, you’d want to get a visa to come back in or some sort of application that allows you to come back in. Once you have that, you come back in and you wait your time, just like everyone else, a minimum of 3 years possibly 5 and you can actually become a citizen but you can certainly become legal again. You don’t have to be a citizen to be legal here. But that 10 year period outside the country is a very significant penalty which is very hard to overcome if you’ve been deported.
Common Crimes Committed by Immigrants in the United States
Interviewer: What are the most common crimes that people commit in terms of foreigners or individuals that are permanent residents?
Brian Geno: In my view, I see this one a lot and this is going to sound crazy but people who are illegal, there are quite a few people like that in the Northern Virginia area. They’re illegal and they drive so they can go to work or whatever and they get caught driving without a driver’s license. And so, once they’re caught driving without a driver’s license, they get a ticket for that. They go to court, pay their fine, get in the car and drive again, get caught again. And once they get caught a second time, there is a real big push by the courts and by the prosecutors in all of the Virginia jurisdictions to give the person some jail time, okay.
An Immigrant Arrested for Committing a Crime is Reported to ICE by the Authorities
That makes them subject to the authority of ICE. Once they show up in jail, by statute, all of Virginia reports that person, all the jurisdictions in Virginia report that person to ICE. And in most of the jurisdictions, the jails have people who are trained by ICE work for ICE and it makes the determination that that person is deportable. Once that happens, immigration just says, “We want him”. A person would never think that by driving to work, even a couple of times without a license, that they would get deported as a result of it but it happens. That’s a very sad one for me because most defense attorneys don’t even realize that that is something which is a very real possibility and so that one is the most surprising one to me.
Committing a Theft of Over $200 Can Cause an Immigrant to Get Deported
Another one is a theft crime. If a person commits a theft crime over $200 and they’re convicted of that – it’s called the grand larceny – they get deported. If a person commits any drug crime other than simple possession of Marijuana, they get deported for that. So, anything like cocaine or any other more serious drugs or selling drugs, they can get deported for that. But by far, the one that I see the most is the innocent crime where a person does it several times, they just aren’t allowed to do it like if they — a 19-year old gives alcohol to a minor, you know, an 18 year old friend or an 18 year old girlfriend and because of that he gets caught and the jail gets a hold of him. That’s one where he’s likely to get deported not because the crime is so bad but because now ICE has him. He’s illegal and ICE now has its grips on him. I have seen it quite a bit where residents get deported because of theft crimes. That’s one that happens quite a bit where in Virginia, you only have to steal something of value of $200 to be charged with the felony theft charge and that makes you deportable, that’s what they call an aggravated felony and you get deported for that. So, those are some of the big ones.