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Reentry Resource Center - New York

Serving People from Arrest to Reintegration

Aggravated Felonies: An Overview

  • Organization: Immigration Policy Center
  • Document Type: Statute/regulation/other law
  • Date Created: Friday, March 16, 2012
  • Submitted: Wednesday, June 27, 2007
  • Attachment(s): LINK

“Aggravated felony” is a term of art used to describe a category of offenses carrying particularly harsh immigration consequences for non-citizens convicted of such crimes. Regardless of their immigration status, non-citizens who have been convicted of an “aggravated felony” are prohibited from receiving most forms of relief that would spare them from deportation, including asylum, and from being readmitted to the United States at any time in the future.

Yet despite what the ominous-sounding name may suggest, an “aggravated felony” need not be “aggravated” or a “felony” to qualify as such a crime. Instead, an “aggravated felony” is simply an offense that Congress sees fit to label as such, and today includes many nonviolent and seemingly minor offenses.

This fact sheet provides an overview of “aggravated felonies” under federal immigration law and the immigration consequences of being convicted of an “aggravated felony.”

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