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New York Criminal Immigration Attorney

Getting arrested for a criminal offense can jeopardize your immigration status in a number of ways. It can make you ineligible for naturalization or unable to renew your Green Card. If trying to enter (or re-enter) the U.S., a criminal history can be grounds for inadmissibility. Of course, you could be subject to detention, removal and deportation as well. If you are facing criminal charges in New York or anywhere in the U.S. call Prizant Law for a consultation in regards to whether these criminal charges will affect your immigration case.

Criminal Matters Can Impact Your Immigration in Different Ways

Regarding criminal matters, U.S. immigration law treats people differently depending on whether they are already lawfully admitted into the country or are currently seeking admission or are here in an undocumented status. If lawfully admitted, you can be removed for committing a deportable offense. If not currently legally admitted, you could be excluded or removed for conduct rendering you inadmissible. Family members here on a derivative visa might also find their immigration status in jeopardy based on your criminal case.

Conviction is not necessarily required for inadmissibility, but it almost always is for removal. Sometimes people plead guilty to a charged offense so they can get probation or a lighter sentence, but they fail to think about the possible impact of that plea on their immigration status. If you are an immigrant charged with a crime, it is essential to talk to an immigration attorney before entering a plea.

Also, some aspects of U.S. immigration law, such as getting citizenship through naturalization or obtaining removal relief (cancellation of removal), require the applicant to prove “good moral character.” Criminal activities can keep you from establishing a good moral character for immigration purposes.

While your criminal defense attorney can represent you in your criminal case, Prizant Law can help you with deportation defense or cancellation of removal, including representation at bond hearings to hopefully get you released from ICE detention while removal proceedings are pending.

What Types of Criminal Charges Can Impact My Immigration?

If you are undocumented and arrested, ICE will detain you and initiate deportation proceedings. If documented, they’ll check to see if the charges against you violate your immigration status. Charges that impact immigration include “aggravated felonies” and crimes of “moral turpitude.”

Aggravated felonies are listed in section 101(a)(43) of the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA). This list includes about two dozen specific offenses as well as broad categories of offenses. Even some misdemeanor offenses can be “aggravated felonies” under INA 101(a)(43). This list includes the following types of offenses:

  • Murder, rape, or sexual abuse of a minor
  • Illicit trafficking in a controlled substance
  • Illicit trafficking in firearms or destructive devices
  • Money laundering
  • Crimes of violence
  • Theft offenses
  • Kidnapping
  • Child pornography
  • Racketeering, RICO offenses, gambling
  • Prostitution or human trafficking offenses
  • Sabotage, treason, disclosing classified information
  • Fraud and tax evasion
  • Alien smuggling
  • Fake passport
  • Failure to appear
  • Bribery, forgery, counterfeiting
  • Obstruction of justice, perjury or subornation of perjury, bribery of a witness
  • Attempt or conspiracy to commit one of the above offenses

Moral turpitude is not defined in the law, and the INA doesn’t provide a list of moral turpitude offenses. Generally speaking, offenses that are inherently fraudulent or involve an intent to defraud are considered to be crimes of moral turpitude. Crimes that don’t involve fraud might also be considered moral turpitude if they involve reprehensible conduct and a culpable mental state such as specific, deliberate or reckless intent.

Many of the grounds for inadmissibility and removal overlap, but there are significant differences as well.

Inadmissibility offenses can include:

  • Crimes of moral turpitude
  • Certain drug crimes
  • Having multiple convictions
  • Prostitution
  • Serious criminal activity
  • Human trafficking
  • Money laundering

Deportable offenses can include:

  • Crimes of moral turpitude
  • Multiple convictions
  • Aggravated felonies
  • High-speed flight from an immigration checkpoint
  • Failure to register as a sex offender
  • Controlled substances violations beyond possession for personal use of 30 grams or less of marijuana
  • Certain firearm offenses
  • Miscellaneous crimes
  • Domestic violence offenses
  • Violation of a protective order
  • Human trafficking (victims of human trafficking here on a U visa may obtain a waiver of their own criminal convictions related to trafficking charges)

Help With Criminal Matters and Immigration in New York

Criminal matters can impact your immigration in a number of ways, including being subject to removal/deportation, rendered inadmissible, ineligible for naturalization, unable to renew a green card, and more. If you or a family member are entangled in a state or federal criminal matter in New York or throughout the U.S., call Prizant Law at 718-407-0871 to discuss your situation with a dedicated and knowledgeable U.S. immigration lawyer.

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