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When Can Criminal Cases Affect a Person’s Immigration Status?

 Posted on July 11, 2023 in Immigration

Charlotte Immigration Lawyers for Criminal ConvictionsIf you are an immigrant living in the United States, it is crucial to know that a criminal record can have a significant impact on your immigration status. A criminal conviction can bring severe consequences such as deportation or inadmissibility to the country. As an immigrant, it is essential to be aware of the potential effects that criminal charges may have on your immigration case.

Criminal Grounds of Inadmissibility

Criminal convictions can lead to a person being deemed inadmissible to the United States. An immigrant who is inadmissible will usually be barred from initially entering the U.S., and those who are already in the United States may be unable to take steps to remain in the country by applying for a visa or an adjustment of status.

There are several types of crimes that will result in inadmissibility if a person is convicted in the United States or another country. These include:

  • Crimes involving moral turpitude - While there is no specific list of crimes that fall into this category, they will generally include acts that are inherently amoral, such as violent crimes, sex crimes, fraud, or theft.

  • Drug crimes - Most violations of the laws of the United States or other countries involving the possession or distribution of controlled substances will lead to inadmissibility. Anyone who has been involved in drug trafficking, including those who aid and abet the illegal import of controlled substances into the U.S. or who have gained financial benefits from these activities, may be deemed inadmissible.

  • Prostitution - Immigrants who came to the United States to engage in prostitution, imported people to the country for the purposes of prostitution, or received the proceeds of prostitution may be deemed inadmissible.

  • Other criminal convictions - Even if offenses would not otherwise cause a person to be inadmissible, if they are convicted of at least two crimes and receive a total sentence of five years or more, they will be considered inadmissible.

Deportable Crimes

In general, any criminal convictions that cause a person to be deemed inadmissible will be considered grounds for deportation. However, there are certain other crimes that may cause a person to be deportable, including:

  • Crimes of moral turpitude committed within five years after a person entered the United States. If a conviction resulted in a sentence of at least one year in prison or if a person was convicted of two or more eligible offenses, they may be deported.

  • Aggravated felonies, which may include murder, sexual assault, drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, offenses related to child pornography, or violent crimes or theft crimes resulting in a sentence of at least one year in prison.

  • Domestic violence, including offenses involving child abuse or child abandonment.

  • Human trafficking, including sex trafficking or any other situations in which people were recruited, harbored, or transported using force, coercion, or fraud for the purposes of involuntary servitude or debt bondage.

Waivers of Inadmissibility

In some cases, immigrants with criminal convictions that cause them to be inadmissible or deportable may be eligible for waivers of inadmissibility. When these waivers are granted, they may allow a person to avoid deportation and apply for a visa or Green Card. However, waivers are only available for certain types of offenses, and a person will typically need to show that their deportation or refusal of entry to the U.S. would cause extreme hardship for a close family member who is a U.S. citizen or who has a valid Green Card.

Contact Our Charlotte Immigration Lawyers for Criminal Convictions

If you are an immigrant facing criminal charges, it is essential to work with an attorney who understands the immigration implications of your case. Your lawyer can help you develop a defense strategy that takes into account your immigration status. An immigration lawyer can also help determine how criminal convictions that took place in the past may affect visa or Green Card applications, and they can work with you to apply for waivers of inadmissibility if possible. At Vasquez Law Firm, PLLC, our Wake County immigration attorneys can ensure that criminal matters will be addressed correctly, and we will work to help you avoid consequences that could affect your family's ability to live together in the United States. Contact us at 1-844-YO-PELEO to set up a free consultation and learn more about our immigration services. 

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