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How Can Criminal Convictions Affect Immigration Cases?

 Posted on June 14, 2023 in Immigration

Irving Waivers of Inadmissibility LawyersImmigrants who come to the United States often face many challenges as they try to reunite with their families, establish living arrangements, find work, and maintain a legal immigration status. In some cases, criminal convictions can impact an immigration case, and they may play a role in determining whether a person will be eligible to receive a visa or Green Card and whether any issues related to inadmissibility will need to be addressed. By understanding how different types of convictions may be addressed during immigration proceedings, immigrants and their family members can take steps to protect against deportation and make sure they will be able to enter or continue living in the United States.

Criminal Convictions as Grounds for Inadmissibility

There are a variety of issues that could cause a person to be deemed inadmissible to the United States. If a person is inadmissible, they will not be permitted to enter the U.S., and an application for a visa may be denied. For immigrants who are currently living in the United States, grounds for inadmissibility may be reasons for immigration officials to pursue deportation or to deny any forms of relief that would allow them to avoid leaving the country.

Certain types of criminal convictions are considered to be grounds for inadmissibility. These include:

  • Crimes involving moral turpitude - Some criminal offenses are considered to be shocking, depraved, or immoral. These generally include crimes that cause harm to others, such as violent crimes or sex crimes. Other applicable offenses may include fraud, kidnapping, domestic abuse, or animal cruelty. Most convictions for these types of offenses will cause a person to be inadmissible. However, exceptions may apply if a person committed a crime of moral turpitude when they were under the age of 18, and they completed their sentence at least five years before applying for a visa or Green Card, or if an offense had a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a person was sentenced to six months or less.

  • Drug crimes - Any violations of state or federal laws in the United States or the laws of another country related to controlled substances will result in inadmissibility. These offenses can range from simple possession to drug distribution and drug trafficking. However, an exception may apply if a person was convicted of a single offense involving possession of no more than 30 grams of marijuana.

  • Prostitution - Anyone who enters the United States for the sole or primary purpose of engaging in prostitution or other forms of "commercialized vice" will generally be deemed inadmissible. Engaging in prostitution or promoting or profiting from prostitution at any time within the 10 years before applying for a visa or Green Card will result in inadmissibility.

  • Multiple convictions - Any two or more criminal convictions for misdemeanor or felony offenses may result in inadmissibility if the total sentence a person received was at least five years.

Waivers of Criminal Grounds for Inadmissibility

In certain cases, immigrants who have been deemed inadmissible due to criminal convictions may apply for waivers of inadmissibility. These waivers may be available in the following situations:

  • A person was convicted of an offense related to prostitution but they have demonstrated rehabilitation.

  • The activities that led to a conviction took place more than 15 years in the past, and a person has demonstrated rehabilitation and can show that they would not be a threat to public safety or national security while living in the United States.

  • A person can show that if they are denied entry or required to leave the U.S., this will cause extreme hardship for a spouse, child, or parent who is a U.S. citizen or Green Card holder.

  • The person applying for a waiver of inadmissibility is seeking relief under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

Contact Our Irving Waivers of Inadmissibility Lawyers

If you are facing criminal charges as an immigrant or if you need to determine how convictions in your past could affect your immigration status, John W. Lawit, LLC can help you navigate the complexities of immigration law. We will advise you on how to address issues related to inadmissibility, including assisting with applying for waivers and demonstrating that you meet the qualifications to receive relief. Contact our Farmers Branch immigration attorneys at 214-609-2242 to arrange a consultation and learn more about how we can assist with your case.

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