A crucial part of the process for becoming a lawful permanent residence is the investigation on past criminal convictions that U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) performs on you. That’s because certain criminal convictions in your nation of citizenship or here in the United States can make you inadmissible for entry into the United States and ineligible for permanent residency. Not every type of criminal conviction is going to cast a cloud over your application, but there are three types of convictions that will automatically render you inadmissible. Those convictions are for the following offenses:
- Aggravated felonies.
- Possession or distribution of controlled substances.
- Crimes of moral turpitude.
When are You Convicted of a Crime?
If you’ve been accused of a crime and placed under arrest, you have the right to a trial. It’s your choice whether you want a bench trial when a judge decides if you’re guilty or not guilty or a jury trial when 12 people make that decision. In many criminal cases, people exercise a third choice and plead guilty in return for a specific sentence. If you’re found guilty by a judge or jury, or if you plead guilty to a criminal offense, a conviction results, and for immigration purposes, it’s likely to follow you for life. A California Central Valley immigration lawyer from Maison Law Immigration Lawyers is available to confidentially discuss any criminal convictions that you might have along with any possible solution to the entry barrier that they create.
What are Aggravated Felonies?
What comes to issue with aggravated felonies is that in a state court, a crime like battery or domestic violence might be classified as a misdemeanor, but for federal immigration law, it’s classified as an aggravated felony and bars a person from entry into the United States. Pursuant to federal immigration law, here are just a few examples of more obvious aggravated felonies:
- Criminal sexual abuse of a minor.
- Possession, delivery or distribution of a controlled substance.
- Human trafficking.
- Violent felonies.
What is a Crime of Moral Turpitude?
USCIS describes moral turpitude as evil intent when a crime is committed. It’s the type of crime that is so vile and depraved that it’s said to shock the public’s conscience. Crimes of domestic or child abuse, incest, cock or dog fighting or bigamy might be classified as crimes of moral turpitude. In deciding if a crime is one of moral turpitude, USCIS often relies on past cases that might indicate whether a particular crime qualifies.
For purposes of the USCIS, drug convictions contemplate possession, delivery or distribution of controlled substances. Even admitted drug use without a criminal conviction can operate as a bar to entering the United States and result in inadmissibility.
Deferred or Alternative Sentences
These types of sentences are available for a wide range of offenders. If a person successfully completes a sentence, the charge might be dismissed or expunged. What comes to issue with USCIS is that they involve a finding or plea of guilty to a crime which is an admission that the defendant committed a crime. Regardless of the fact that no conviction resulted, the admission of having committed a specific crime operates as a bar to admissibility for an intending immigrant. A conviction for any of the above-described offenses can also be cause for a removal action by USCIS is the person who committed it is already in the United States.
Contact a California Immigration Lawyer Today.
For those who were convicted of an aggravated felony, a crime involving moral turpitude or a drug offense while outside of the United States, a waiver of inadmissibility might be a solution for obtaining permission to enter the country. If the conviction occurred inside of the United States, cancellation of removal might be sought. In either case, consulting with and retaining an experienced and aggressive Central Valley immigration law firm to represent you is strongly recommended. You’ll be serving yourself well by contacting Maison Law Immigration Lawyers if a criminal conviction is a barrier to you entering or remaining in the United States.