When an American citizen is convicted of a crime, all the person has to worry about is the amount of time he or she may be sentenced to jail for it. A non-citizen in the same situation, however, has the added stress of wondering whether a conviction will affect his or her eligibility for a green card to become a permanent resident. People in this situation should contact immigration law attorneys for information on how a criminal conviction will affect their futures in America.
Grounds for Inadmissibility
US immigration laws outline a list of circumstances where a person could be barred from getting a green card because of a criminal issue. That list includes:
• Multiple convictions with independent or combined sentences of 5 years or more
• Being convicted of a crime of moral turpitude (e.g. murder, prostitution, human trafficking)
• Being addicted to drugs or alcohol
• Being convicted of a crime involving controlled substances such as cocaine
If the immigration office gets wind of the conviction, then the person’s application for a green card may be denied. Additionally, if the person leaves the country for 180 days or more and is convicted of crimes overseas, the person may be denied entry back into the United States even if the individual is a permanent resident.
Grounds for Deportation
A person who has a green card may be asked to leave the country if the crime he or she committed was:
• A crime of moral turpitude either committed within the first five years of admission to the country or after having committed a different crime of moral turpitude
• A crime of violence (e.g. assault)
• An aggravated felony such as murder, obstruction of justice and forgery
• A crime involving a controlled substance
Once deported, the person may be temporarily or permanently barred from returning to the country depending on the severity of the crime.
It’s critical to work with an attorney who is well versed in immigration law to avoid the consequences that could result from being convicted of a crime. For more information about this issue or assistance with other immigration troubles, visit Legalphilly.com.
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