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Boston Immigration and Nationality Blog » 4 things immigrants accused of crimes should know

4 things immigrants accused of crimes should know

The Washington Post has a sobering article about the immigration consequences of criminal activity, which led to the following thoughts:

  1. It doesn’t matter how old the conviction is; old crimes can come back to haunt even permanent residents. In one of the articles,  a crime committed by a juvenile came back to haunt her years later.
  2. You might think it’s a minor crime, but according to US immigration law, it might make you inadmissible or removable. The article mentioned people in removal proceedings for shoplifting and, in one case, stealing a pen. It’s important to hire skilled counsel who (a) specializes in criminal law and (b) knows about the immigration consequences of various outcomes in criminal matters, because
  3. Outcomes that are great for U.S. Citizens can mean removal (deportation) for immigrants. Here in Massachusetts, when a defendant is in state court for the first time on a criminal matter, it’s not unusual to have the case “continued without a finding.” In other words, if the defendant stays out of trouble for the set period of time, the charges are dropped and there are no further consequences in the state court. However, under our immigration laws, the defendant is considered to have admitted sufficient facts to warrant a finding of guilty, which means that the continuance without a finding is treated as equivalent to a conviction.
  4. Talk to an immigration attorney about your situation if you have a criminal issue. There are waivers available for certain immigrants in removal proceedings, but each one has different requirements and cures different grounds of removability and inadmissibility. Cancellation of Removal and the 212(h) waiver are good examples of this.

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