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Can felony convictions have an impact on immigration status?

by | Jun 7, 2018 | Criminal Defense |

This nation was built on the risk-taking immigrants who came ashore to start a new life. Most everyone who now calls themselves an American, immigrated or had family members who immigrated before them. Immigration is rooted deep into the fabric of our society and America continues to welcome newcomers every day. However, a felony conviction could put a stop to the immigration process for a hopeful soon-to-be citizen.

If you or a loved one is in the United States on a visa or are hoping for a Green Card, a felony conviction could really throw a wrench in your plans. If you are accused of a felony and your immigration status is in limbo, the two sectors of the law (criminal law and immigration law) can intersect if one is convicted. Even if one isn’t accused of a full-blown felony, like felony assault, it can affect immigration status. It depends on the hopeful immigrant’s current status, the type of offense and the specific facts surrounding the case.

Moral turpitude is a word thrown around when a person is seeking a Green Card. A non-citizen, like so many immigrant hopefuls, who is convicted of an aggravated felony or a crime involving moral turpitude is generally ineligible for relief from deportation. Beyond that, they often are barred from reentering the U.S. in the future if convicted. This is why a person should take a felony or any criminal accusation or criminal charges seriously. If an applicant is in the middle of the immigration process, whether it be visa or Green Card, it could have a massive impact on the rest of the applicant’s life.

The immigration panel cannot step in until a person is convicted. Remember, in America, a person is innocent until proven guilty of a crime they are accused of. There is often time to build a criminal defense strategy that would show the defendant in the best light but more than that, it could prevent any side-effect that the criminal charge would have on a person’s immigration status.