Debating on getting naturalized? Do it for your children

Are you a long time green card holder and still unsure about becoming a U.S. citizen? Are you having a hard time wrapping your head around how U.S. citizenship will benefit you and your family?

Here is one thing you may not have considered: becoming a U.S. citizen can protect your children from deportation.

The U.S. government CAN (and frequently does) deport permanent residents

According to the most recent statistics, in 2014 the U.S. government deported 102,224 people living in the U.S. (as opposed to those removed at the border).

Although the statistics released by the government do not specifically state how many of those deportations were permanent residents, you might be surprised to find out how little it takes for green card holders to end up in deportation proceedings.

Let’s face it, kids do stupid stuff all the time. Even the best parents cannot always watch over their teenage children 24/7. Unfortunately, for non-citizen children, even the things that most people consider typical or minor mistakes could land your child in immigration court. It’s also important to remember that under the law it typically does not matter if the offenses are committed as a minor or as an adult.

4 surprising ways your child could end up facing deportation

1. Theft

Under U.S. immigration law certain crimes are viewed as showing that a person lacks good moral character. These crimes are called “crimes involving moral turpitude (CIMT).”  Shockingly, the law does not give a very specific definition of what this means, but instead allows the federal agencies and immigration courts to determine which criminal offenses fall under this umbrella.

A green card holder can be deported for a CIMT for two main reasons. The first is if a permanent resident commits a crime within five years of getting their green card, and the crime carries a possible sentence of at least 1 year. Secondly, if the individual committed two or more CIMTs at any time after receiving their green card.

Additionally, a crime can be a CIMT regardless of whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony. The U.S. government and courts have determined that crimes involving theft or the conspiracy to commit theft are likely CIMTs for immigration purposes.

2. Possession of marijuana

A marijuana conviction can bring about serious problems for green card holders. While there is an exception for a one time offense for 30 grams (1.06 ounces) or less for personal use, the green card holder will still be required to go to immigration court and present their case before an immigration judge. This is typically a very long process and could end up costing thousands of dollars, even if your child is never deported.

Additionally, this is a one time exception. If your child ends up with 2 or more offenses for marijuana possession, the situation becomes much worse.

3. Possession of a controlled substance

A conviction of a controlled substance could result in a green card holder facing deportation. Unlike a marijuana conviction, there is no exception for any other type of drugs under the law. The amount of drugs found also does not matter. Controlled substances can include completely illegal drugs, such as cocaine or heroine, as well as medications available by prescription such as Xanax or Hydrocodone.

This means that your child could be facing deportation for the possession of one Xanax pill as a green card holder, whereas a U.S. citizen may get off with just probation.

4. Drug addiction

Green card holders who are drug addicts can face deportation under U.S. immigration laws. It is not necessary to have a criminal conviction of any kind, simply admitting to drug use, being a drug addict, or based on an evidence from a medical report could be enough for deportation.

Your Lawful Permanent Resident children under 18 automatically become U.S. citizens when you naturalize

Protecting your children from getting deported due to one or more of the reasons listed above may be easier than you think. According to the USCIS, if you become a U.S. citizen and your child:

  • Is a green card holder
  • Is living with you in the U.S. and legally under your custody
  • Is currently under 18 years old
  • Was under 18 or not yet born on February 27, 2001

Your child can automatically get their U.S. citizenship! This means that they do not have to wait until they turn 18 years old to go through the naturalization process. It also means that once they become a U.S. citizen, the immigration laws will not apply and they will be protected from deportation.

Don’t wait to become a U.S. citizen any longer. You can start your application today with’s immigration software that walks you through the naturalization application step by step. Learn more.