Can a Criminal Defense Attorney Provide Advice on Immigration Issues?

Pennsylvanians who have questions about criminal records should contact an experienced defense attorney to help them understand the relationship between immigration status and arrest. When you apply for a visa or permanent resident card (green card) for the U. S., immigration authorities consider several factors when admitting foreign citizens to the U. S.

Eligibility is a standard that is used by U. immigration and border authorities to determine who can enter the U. S., while deportability is the standard used by immigration authorities to determine if they should deport a foreign citizen from the U. An immigrant detention allows local police to detain a person for up to 48 hours longer than a normal detention, and if ICE takes you into federal custody, the agency will determine if you are violating your residency rights.

If they find that you have committed a violation, ICE will initiate deportation proceedings, which require that you attend immigration court and can ultimately result in your deportation. In the past, USCIS has had limited access to criminal records from foreign countries, with the exception of Canada, but the technology of exchanging information across borders is rapidly evolving in the modern digital age, so the obstacles that once prevented the U. from obtaining foreign arrest records may no longer exist. Since there is a remote chance that the USCIS will learn about your arrest in another country, you must tell the truth in your visa application or change of status.

At some point, you may find yourself in a situation that requires you to obtain a visa to re-enter the U. S., and if you had previously lied about your arrest history to the USCIS, it could be inadmissible in the U. for “deliberate misrepresentation” and could also jeopardize your ability to become a U. citizen in the future.

Some criminal convictions may prohibit citizenship permanently or temporarily, but an arrest without charges or convictions cannot automatically make it impossible for you to become a citizen, but it may result in your application being denied for lack of moral character. Immigration authorities ensure that foreign citizens who naturalize have the moral character necessary to become good citizens, and if you were arrested while pursuing U. citizenship, you should contact a qualified defense lawyer right away to learn what to expect in the process. If you were arrested, charged, and tried when you were a minor, there is a chance that the USCIS won't see your record at all since juvenile crimes generally do not end with a conviction but with an award and under immigration law, authorities cannot consider your juvenile sentence to be the same as a conviction.

Dawn Launiere
Dawn Launiere

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