Permanent residents of the United States, including those possessing green cards, are protected by the same constitutional rights as U.S. citizens. Green card holders may live and work in the United States, open businesses, receive an education, borrow money, and sue and be sued. Green card holders are also permitted to receive a driver’s license and, therefore, possess the right to drive.
Getting into a typical car accident isn’t any more cause for concern for a green card holder than for the average citizen. The immigrant will need to provide insurance information, call for emergency assistance if someone is injured, take pictures, and work with the insurance companies to ascertain liability and settlement.
Immigrants are entitled to receive compensation for injuries from an accident just like anyone else. The complications for immigrants stem not from the fact of the accident itself but surrounding circumstances that may have contributed or be related to the accident.
Permanent Residents And Immigrants
Drivers must operate their vehicles safely. For example, they cannot drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. They shouldn’t text and drive. They cannot flee the scene of an accident. Any of these activities could constitute grounds for the driver to face criminal prosecution. For green card holders, a criminal prosecution could implicate their permanent residency status. Moreover, while pleading guilty to DUI may seem like the safest way to avoid incarceration – it could have serious implications for green cardholders.
Reasons a Green Card May Be Revoked
A green card could be revoked if the immigrant committed fraud to obtain the green card or visa. For example, if the immigrant lied about being in a committed marriage to a U.S. citizen. Additionally, if the immigrant abandons his or her residency in the United States, i.e., if he or she lived abroad for more than 180 consecutive days.
Green cards may also be revoked for criminal activity. Green cards aren’t revoked for every type of criminal activity, such as moving violations. In general, green cards are revoked for three kinds of crimes: (1) aggravated felonies, (2) crimes of moral turpitude, and (3) drug-related crimes.
Aggravated felonies vary from state to state, but in general, they refer to crimes in which a weapon was used or violence was committed. For example, a fight outside of a bar between two patrons involving fists might amount to assault and battery charges. However, if one of the patrons uses a knife or gun – that crime is elevated to aggravated assault and battery because of the use of the weapon.
Crimes of moral turpitude typically encompass serious crimes and crimes relating to honesty or truthfulness. For example, kidnapping is usually a crime of moral turpitude. But moral turpitude may also include fraud – such as lying while under oath or filing fraudulent workers’ compensation claims.
Getting injured as an immigrant is more complex for undocumented residents. First, the police may detain undocumented immigrants even if they are the victim of the accident. If the police do come to the scene, the undocumented immigrant must not lie or file a false report. The immigrant isn’t required to answer the officer’s questions. Second, the immigrant could face deportation and criminal charges for being in the United States unlawfully.
Third, obtaining compensation for lost wages is difficult for undocumented immigrants because they cannot prove their employment or work authorization. Despite these difficulties, undocumented immigrants can get compensation for their injuries. Everyone in the United States, including undocumented immigrants, may file claims for compensation relating to an accident.
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