Securing legal citizenship in the United States is far from simple. People often incur massive costs and wait many years to secure the legal right to live and work in the United States. Here in Texas, quite a few immigrants cross the border hoping for a better future, only to discover that securing or maintaining a visa is more difficult than they anticipated.
Many different problems can affect somebody’s legal status in the United States. Any interaction with law enforcement could cause immigration headaches for those who currently have a visa or those who live in the United States without official documentation.
Whether someone gets pulled over for a minor traffic violation or faces accusations of more serious criminal offenses, they could wind up losing their visa or facing deportation as a result.
Undocumented immigrants could face deportation after any interaction with police
It is sad but true that even the victims of crimes could find themselves facing questions related to their immigration status if they reach out to law enforcement for help.
While there are special visas available for the victims of violent crimes committed in the United States or by an American citizen, many immigrants are not fully familiar with the various visa programs offered by the United States and won’t know to advocate on their own behalf as a victim. Immigration officials will take advantage of this lack of knowledge by moving swiftly to avoid someone learning about and then asserting their rights.
Those accused of any kind of offense, ranging from a traffic violation to theft or more serious crimes could face deportation immediately after their arrest or after a conviction. In some circumstances, individuals may wind up in a prison in the United States and then have to deal with the stress of potential deportation after they serve their sentence.
Even immigrants with visas couldn’t lose their rights after a criminal charge
Under the current administration, efforts to reduce undocumented immigration have resulted in a crackdown on anyone convicted of a crime while in the country as an immigrant. There is little reporting obligation for the courts related to undocumented immigrants facing charges, so it is hard to know the severity of the charges in the average case that affects immigration status.
Even individuals who entered the country as babies could face deportation later in life because of criminal activity as an adult if they don’t secure permanent citizenship. While many people assume that these rules typically only apply to those accused of felony offenses, the federal government can also argue for the deportation of anyone who’s criminal offense raises questions about their moral character.
Defending yourself against criminal allegations while you are an immigrant is of the utmost importance to protecting your immigration status. Avoiding a conviction may be the only way to protect yourself from the loss of your visa and immigration status.