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Immigration Consequences To Criminal Charges Or Convictions – The BIG Mistake – Don’t Rest Easy! Removability AND Inadmissibility Immigration Considerations Before Pleading

The purpose of this article is to hopefully reduce the huge mistake that costs U.S. Permanent Residents and Non-Citizens their right to travel back to their home country. Specifically, if a Permanent Resident or Non-Citizen with a brief criminal history travels abroad they are often faced with the surprise of arriving at the airport back in the United States only to be told by Customs Border and Patrol (CBP) that they are “inadmissible”. In other word, they are banned from reentering the United States.

The reason this is often so surprising to foreign nationals/non-citizens, is that he or she often did hire criminal attorneys and even immigration attorneys to ensure that they would not be “deported” if they plead and/or were convicted of a criminal charge.  A foreign national will then feel confident about the immigration consequences of their actions and rest easy.

However, it is critical that a  foreign national BEFORE travelling abroad consult with an immigration attorney to ensure that although they are not removable from the United States they will not face inadmissibility issues when they attempt to reenter the U.S. after a brief trip abroad.

The Law

Criminal inadmissibility grounds will or may prevent a noncitizen from being able to obtain lawful status in the United Stats; and may also prevent a noncitizen who already has lawful status from being able to return to the U.S from a trip abroad in the future.

Controlled Substance Offenses. Conviction or admitted commission of a controlled Substance Offense, or DHS reason to believe that the individual is a drug trafficker will also trigger inadmissibility.  It is critical to note here that even if there was not a conviction and a noncitizen just verbally admits to a CBP officer that he trafficked drugs at some point the noncitizen will be inadmissible.  This applies to other crimes not only drug trafficking.

Crime Involving Moral Turpitude. Conviction or admitted commission of a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMT), which category includes a broad range of crimes, including:

  • Crimes with an intent to steal or defraud as an element (e.g. theft, forgery)
  • Crimes in which bodily harm is caused or threatened by an intentional act, or serious bodily harm is caused or threatened by a reckless act (e.g., murder, rape, some manslaughter/assault crimes)
  • Most sex offenses

There is a Petty Offense Exception which it is not the purpose of this article to discuss.

Also, prostitution and commercialized vice makes a noncitizen inadmissible, and conviction of two or more offenses of any type plus aggregate prison sentence of 5 years.

Again, even if a non-citizen has consulted with an immigration attorney in conjunction with criminal counsel and he or she has been told that they will not be removed or deported from the United States this is not enough. Based on pleading or prior conviction(s) of certain crimes a non citizen may be inadmissible back to the United States, FOREVER, after a brief trip abroad. It is imperative that a noncitizen seek an experienced immigration attorney’s advice before travelling abroad.  You may contact one of our immigration attorneys at the information provided below with any questions.

ScottMond Law Firm

Immigration Lawyers Serving Families, Individuals and Businesses

www.scottcclaw.com

info@scottcclaw.com

(703)261.6881 (main office number)

(301)251.4003 (Maryland Office)

(703)966-0907 (emergency client line only)

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