Immigration dominates headlines in the United States with possible changes in asylum status and ICE’s new program to strengthen immigration enforcement. However, there are many aspects of the immigration process that is still not publicized to the public.
For example, a large factor in a person’s immigration status is their criminal record. Whether it’s a legal immigrant in the U.S. or a resident of another country, a criminal conviction has severe effects on any potential visas or citizenship.
Even minor criminal charges count
To enter the country legally, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) analyzes every application down to the minuscule details, so it makes sense that USCIS considers criminal records as a factor for allowing individual applicants into the country. However, even small infractions ruin applicants’ chances.
For example, under the United States’ immigration policy, minor criminal charges may be considered as “aggravated felonies.” If an immigrant commits an aggravated felony, the court automatically declares them eligible for deportation. It includes crimes like filing a fraudulent tax return, failure to appear in court and consensual sex between a 17-year old and a 16-year old.
It seems like an over-exaggeration, but it’s a realistic threat for any permanent resident or immigrant on U.S. soil. It’s critical for residents to know the potential implications a criminal charge has on their pending visas, permissions or residency.
Once you know the implications, you need to find the right attorney to represent your case in court and guide you through the immigration case as smoothly as possible. It saves you time and heartache if you prevent any convictions on a criminal record.