Costa Mesa Criminal Defense And Immigration Law Blog

Criminal conviction may result in deportation

The federal government may downgrade an immigrant's status if they have been convicted of a felony. However, this will depend on the type of felony and the facts of the case. Non-citizens who are convicted of crimes of moral turpitude or aggravated felonies in California may be deported and prohibited from reentering the country. The term aggravated felony, in the context of immigration, may include some crimes that are usually considered misdemeanors.

When the aggravated felony immigration law was enacted in 1988, it was limited to crimes like drug trafficking, firearms trafficking and murder. Since then, several other offenses have been added to the list, including theft, fraudulent tax returns, missing court appearances and simple battery. Crimes of moral turpitude are those that a court determines are against the country's moral standards. At least some courts have determined that perjury, wire fraud, carrying a concealed weapon, child abuse and tax evasion qualify as crimes of moral turpitude.

California street gang investigation leads to 50 arrests

A multi-agency investigation into the activities of a notorious California street gang has led to the arrest of 50 individuals and the seizure of significant quantities of illegal drugs and guns. The results of the investigation were announced during a Nov. 19 press conference. Agencies taking part in the three-month operation include the California Highway Patrol, the California Department of Justice, the Stockton Police Department and the San Joaquin County District Attorney's Office.

Authorities say the individuals taken into custody are either members of or associated with the Norteño street gang. The gang has reportedly been linked with crimes in the Stockton area including narcotics and weapons distribution, murder and robbery. Police say that evidence obtained during the course of the investigation, which was launched in August 2019, helped them to identify suspects in the killing of a 10-year-old boy, who was gunned down while playing in his back yard.

Evidence collected during the naturalization process

As part of the naturalization process, an applicant may have to show that he or she is of good moral character. Immigration officials in California or anywhere else might be required to learn more about any offenses that an applicant has committed either in the United States or overseas. This could involve getting a statement regarding any offenses that an applicant was not formally charged with.

When speaking with a foreign national, an immigration official can take into account the applicant's education and ability to speak English. An official may rephrase questions or take other steps to ensure that the interviewee understands the questions being asked. Court depositions are required if a foreign national has committed certain offenses such as murder or an aggravated felony. Depositions are also typically required if an applicant was taken into custody for a crime that would require probation when a change of status occurs.

An aggravated felony can affect your immigration status

It doesn't matter if you're a permanent resident of the United States, an immigrant or hold some other type of status, a felony charge is a big deal as a conviction can impact your personal, professional and financial lives.

A non-citizen of the United States faces additional concerns if charged with a felony, as it may result in deportation or the inability to enter the country in the future.

2 California men arrested after police dog sniffs out drugs

Prosecutors accuse two men arrested in San Mateo of transporting a large amount of drugs from Southern California to the Bay Area. The arrests of the men, ages 24 and 29, occurred after San Mateo police officers initiated a traffic stop on South Norfolk Street. Officers reported finding some methamphetamine in the driver's possession. For this reason, they called in the department's drug-sniffing dog. The dog allegedly indicated that a suitcase in the vehicle contained drugs. The officers opened it and reported finding 35 pounds of methamphetamine and 2 pounds of heroin.

According to the police officers, they originally stopped the vehicle with the two men because of its tinted windows. The men now face felony charges for possessing and transporting methamphetamine and heroin for the purpose of selling it. They have both entered not guilty pleas.

Becoming a dual citizen in the United States

Immigrants living in California may look forward to gaining U.S. citizenship, especially after navigating the immigration system and green card status for many years. However, they may wonder whether they can retain citizenship from their country of birth when seeking naturalization. Dual citizenship is not formally recognized in the U.S., but there is no law prohibiting it and immigration authorities have shown no interest in forbidding it. When a person is a citizen of two countries at the same time with the rights and responsibilities of both, he or she is a dual citizen.

There can be major benefits to dual citizenship, including easier travel and residency requirements in different parts of the world. However, there can also be complicated aspects of life as a dual citizen, such as maintaining tax filings in multiple countries. There are a number of ways that people can become dual citizens of the U.S., including being born in the U.S. while entitled to another citizenship based on parental nationality, becoming naturalized as a U.S. citizen while retaining original citizenship or being born to parents with two different citizenships.

Man renews citizenship pursuit after return to US

Many people in California and across the country were troubled by a deportation case involving a veteran of the Afghanistan war. The man, a US Army veteran, re-entered the country from Mexico on Sept. 23, 2019, nearly a year and a half after his deportation in March 2018. He is now pursuing his goal of citizenship after entering the country draped in one American flag and holding another in his hand. His deportation made headlines nationwide in 2018, especially as he had previously served two tours in Afghanistan in the army. He was forced to leave after his initial citizenship application was denied.

Federal immigration authorities cited the man's 2010 felony drug conviction, saying that it made him ineligible for naturalization. The man argued that post-traumatic stress disorder caused by his experiences in the military led to his drug addiction and the circumstances leading to his conviction. After widespread reports about the reason for his deportation, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker pardoned the man for the initial drug conviction. U.S. Customs and Border Protection gave the man a 14-day parole, allowing him to enter the country. He will have an appointment with immigration officials to pursue his citizenship claim.

When you should consult an immigration attorney for help

Depending on your legal status in the United States, there may come a point when you're dealing with immigration-related issues.

Rather than deal with these serious concerns on your own, it's best to consult with an immigration attorney for help. A legal professional understands the finer details of the law, including the steps they can take to assist you.

Applying for a fiancé visa to the U.S.

Many people in California who are planning to be married may wonder how they can bring their fiancé or fiancée to the United States. A fiance visa is an option for people planning to get married soon, and it is officially known as a K-1 nonimmigrant visa. In order to petition for a K-1 visa for a fiancé, people must fill out a Petition For Alien Fiancé(e), Form I-129F, and submit it to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The form is the first step towards obtaining a fiancé visa.

In order to be eligible for this type of visa, the U.S. citizen applicant and the prospective spouse must plan to marry within 90 days of the fiancé coming to the U.S. with the K-1 visa. In addition, the marriage must be valid and carried out for the purposes of maintaining a life and relationship together, not for other purposes such as securing residency or other immigration goals. After the marriage is completed within that initial 90 days, the immigrant spouse can apply for a green card in the U.S. Once the couple is married, the foreign spouse becomes eligible to be a permanent resident of the United States.

Trump policy to complicate immigration for some

An immigration policy announced by the Trump administration will make it more difficult for some military members and government workers living overseas to secure citizenship. The announcement was met with anger and confusion on the part of veterans' and immigrant advocacy groups in California and across the country, and the administration clarified that only a small number of people will be impacted by the policy change. The majority of children born to U.S. citizens while they work or serve abroad will still automatically be citizens.

Other groups will have to deal with a more complex application process. These people will be required to secure a visa to bring their children into the country prior to applying for citizenship. The impacted groups include parents who became citizens after the birth of the child, parents who are citizens but have never lived in the U.S. and parents who adopted a child while abroad. Citizens who have recently been naturalized and not yet completed the requirements to give automatic citizenship to their children will also have to go through the more complex process.

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