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Immigration Eligibility with Criminal Record

New York Lawyers Explain Immigration Eligibility with a Criminal Record

How past indiscretions can affect your immigration rights

Understandably, immigration authorities are very reluctant to allow convicted criminals to travel to the United States — even more so when they are applying for permanent residence. For an immigrant living in the United States on a visa or green card, a criminal conviction can mean swift deportation. As experienced New York immigration attorneys, we at Bretz & Coven, LLP understand how to manage these complex cases and the idiosyncrasies of immigration law they often expose. We also assist criminal defense attorneys in understanding immigration issues while representing non-citizen clients.

Inadmissibility because of criminal history

Not all criminal history disqualifies an applicant from receiving a visa or green card. Generally speaking, immigration authorities may deny entry if you have been convicted of any of the following crimes of “moral turpitude”:

  • Drug crimes
  • Recent misdemeanors
  • Crimes involving fraud
  • Crimes involving theft
  • Violent crimes
  • Sex crimes

Even crimes that normally would render a person inadmissible may be subject to a waiver under certain circumstances. Moreover, convictions that appear to have been politically motivated may not result in disqualification.

Deportation after conviction

Conviction of a crime is a common reason for deportation. Like inadmissibility, however; not all criminal convictions arecause for deportation. Some, however can make it difficult to qualify as a person of good moral character when applying for citizenship. Unfortunately, many immigrants are not aware of the full ramifications of a guilty plea.

Generally speaking, conviction of a drug crime — other than possession of a small amount of marijuana for personal use, domestic violence crime or firearm crime ¾ can subject you to the possibility of deportation. Likewise, conviction of what immigration law refers to as an “aggravated felony” can also lead toremoval. These felonies include most violent crimes and sex crimes as well as some fraud and theft crimes. Last, a conviction of a felony crime involving moral turpitude within five years of entering the United States can be grounds for deportation. Two convictions of any moral turpitude crimes, regardless of severity may also be deportable. While what constitutes a crime involving moral turpitude is not very well defined, generally, they must be crimes that involve some element of intentional conduct.

Contact a firm that can help you deal with your criminal history

While immigration law is generally not kind to those with criminal records, our attorneys at Bretz & Coven, LLP know the exemptions and intricacies that can allow our clients in New York to avoid removal or start a new life in America. Contact our experienced immigration lawyers in New York City today at 1 (212) 267-2555 or online for creative solutions to your complex immigration problems.  For an office appointment in Metro Park, New Jersey, call 1 (732) 313-0075.

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