Criminal Convictions and Immigration
Almost any criminal conviction can have a negative impact on an individual’s immigration status. As a result, there are many advantages to hiring a legal firm with both criminal and immigration experience such as FitzGerald Law Company.
How can we try to prevent the negative effects of a criminal record on an immigration petition?
- If you or a family member has a current criminal case pending, we can work to negotiate a sentence structure or a resolution of a criminal case so that it does not have a mandatory adverse effect on the individual’s immigration status.
- If you or your family member have had a past criminal case, we can petition a court to reverse or change a past conviction so that the individual in question is not in jeopardy of deportation.
There are two types of convictions that generally result in problems with the Immigration & Naturalization Service; Crimes of Moral Turpitude and Aggravated Felonies.
The Immigration & Nationality Act and the Code of Federal Regulations state that any alien who has been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, or admits to having committed such a crime, or admits to having committed acts which constitute the essential elements of such a crime, is inadmissible to the United States.
According to the Code of Federal Regulations (22 CFR §40.21(a)), a determination that a crime involves moral turpitude must be based upon the moral standards generally prevailing in the United States. “Moral turpitude” has been defined as anything done contrary to justice, honesty, principle, or good morals, or an act of baseness, vileness, or depravity in the private and social duties which a person owes to his or her fellow citizens or to society in general, whether or not it is punishable as a crime. (See In re Sloan, 12 I & N Dec 840 (1966, BIA); In re Awaijane, 14 I & N Dec 117 (1972, BIA)).
The term “aggravated felony” means any crime that is serious in nature, including but not limited to the following:
- murder, rape, or sexual abuse of a minor;
- drug, explosives or firearms trafficking;
- money laundering;
- a crime of violence for which the term of imprisonment is at least one year;
- a theft offense (including receipt of stolen property) or burglary offense for which the term of imprisonment is at least one year; and
- any other offense listed in INA §101(a)(43).
Convictions for the purposes of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services are different than for the purposes of a criminal court. A period of probation or a upon a finding of sufficient facts can result in exclusion, denial of naturalization, deportation or removal from the United States.