Can deportation be punishment for crime?

Say you’ve committed a crime. The prosecution wants to put you in jail, but could the government simply deport you instead?  Judge Andrew Napolitano explains what could happen to felons who lack immigration status. 


  Judge Andrew Napolitano is an author and a senior judicial analyst at Fox News.

Additional Resources

For more information on deportation from the United States as well as information on locating someone held in immigration detention:

Can deportation be punishment for crime? Brief Transcript

Judge Andrew Napolitano here. Can deportation serve as a punishment for the violation of federal criminal law? The short answer is no, but it can be a consequence of the violation of criminal law. Stated differently, the punishment for the violation of criminal law must be the same whether you are a citizen or not a citizen, whether you are here lawfully or whether you are not here lawfully. But you can suffer other civil disabilities depending on your status. So if you are an immigrant from another country who is not here lawfully and you commit a crime, you will be tried, prosecuted, and punished for the crime. It will also trigger deportation. Deportation is not considered the criminal punishment. If it were considered the criminal punishment, the Supreme Court has said it would violate the “cruel and unusual" clause of the Eighth Amendment, because deportation is a civil proceeding. It’s not a criminal one. Judge Andrew Napolitano here. Thank you for watching TalksOnLaw.