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Crimes & Immigration

Crimes & Immigration are closely related, as your criminal past can affect your application. Our firm is dedicated to helping you no matter your past.

There are many different aspects of a person’s life that are investigated prior to permitting citizenship. One of these areas is their criminal past, and how it will affect anyone around the applicant if they are granted citizenship. One requirement for citizenship applicants are that they be of “good moral character,” which means no felony convictions. However there are innumerable victims of wrongful conviction for crimes they did not commit. If you are not a U.S. citizen, then any contact you have with a law enforcement officer can affect your eligibility for immigration, as well as eligibility for various visas. If you are arrested, not only could your application for citizenship be denied, but you could be deported, or put in detention while deportation is being considered.

Consequences of a Conviction for Immigration Matters

While it is frightening for any person to find themselves facing a criminal conviction, this is never truer than when an immigrant finds them arrested. For these defendants, it is more than just having to deal with short-term consequences, such as jail time and fines. For an immigrant, they will have their very residence on the line and will find themselves in danger of removal proceedings with a judge.

It is important to keep in mind that if any person who is not a citizen can be deported for a conviction. This includes those who are residing in the U.S. with a lawful permanent visa. There are currently two separate classifications, each one affecting immigration proceedings differently:

  • Aggravated Felonies – Murder, rape or sexual abuse of a minor, trafficking of drugs or firearms, as well as any other crime that involves violence. What is defined as an aggravated felony under 8 USC §1101(a)(43) may not be a New York felony, but will be one in the immigration proceedings.
  • Crimes of Moral Turpitude – There is no distinct definition of these crimes, but are considered those where the criminal intent is the foundation of the act. This could be anything from murder to kidnapping, as well as arson, forgery and even blackmail.

Even if a criminal conviction does not immediately result in a deportation, it could affect the ability of the defendant to obtain citizenship through naturalization later in life. Requirements for citizenship are strict and having a blemish on their record could make it impossible for them to be eligible for application. For this reason, it is extremely important that no time is wasted in consulting with a lawyer to help wade through both the criminal matters and the resulting immigration issues.

Pozo Goldstein, LLP: Fighting for Your Rights

If you are applying for citizenship, and you have a criminal record, it is crucial that you talk to an immigration attorney from Pozo Goldstein, LLP. Our firm is dedicated to helping our clients through the immigration process, regardless of past convictions, whether wrongful or not. Even if you have been convicted of a crime, you could still benefit from the legal expertise of a lawyer from our firm. Our firm is dedicated to providing the best legal aid we can to each of our clients. We offer a free in-house case evaluation, as well as extensive one-on-one personal service and 24/7 availability.