The federal government may downgrade an immigrant's status if they have been convicted of a felony. However, this will depend on the type of felony and the facts of the case. Non-citizens who are convicted of crimes of moral turpitude or aggravated felonies in California may be deported and prohibited from reentering the country. The term aggravated felony, in the context of immigration, may include some crimes that are usually considered misdemeanors.
California immigrants may not face criminal liability if they are in the country illegally and commit an illegal act but do not realize it based on a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. On June 21, the court ruled in a 7-2 decision that it is necessary for prosecutors to prove that an immigrant is aware that their status or behavior is illegal. Justice Samuel Alito and Justice Clarence Thomas were the dissenting votes.