Three ways criminal convictions can impact immigration status

On Behalf of | Jul 13, 2020 | Immigration

A criminal conviction can be a difficult obstacle to overcome for anyone, but non-citizens living in the United States can face serious threats to their immigration if they are arrested and convicted of certain crimes. This post will address some of the legal problems that non-citizens may face if they are convicted of crimes while living in North Carolina or other states throughout the nation. Readers are asked not to rely on this informative post as it provides no legal advice. They should consult with criminal defense attorneys to learn more about their rights and options for facing their charges.

#1. A conviction may prevent a person from obtaining legal permanent resident status

There are many reasons that individuals move to the United States. For some, an international move is necessitated by a career opportunity or for a relationship. For others, moving to the United States is tied to escaping persecution as a refuge. Whether a person moves for asylum, love, or work, they must abide by certain rules in order to protect their status.

A criminal conviction may bar a person who does not have legal permanent resident status from obtaining it and being denied the opportunity to stay in the country. They may lose their job or have to leave their family. If they are in the United States as a refuge, they may be sent back to their home country despite the threats that are present. Individuals who are convicted of certain crimes may never be allowed to reside permanently in the United States.

#2. A criminal conviction for a non-citizen with no status may result in deportation

Not everyone who lives in the United States as an immigrant has a visa or documentation to prove they have been approved to reside in the country. Men and women who are illegally in the United States can face imprisonment and deportation for their conviction of certain crimes. Crimes that fall into the category of aggravated felonies and those that concern moral turpitude may lead to deportation for those who are arrested and convicted.

#3. Aggravated felonies are not necessarily crimes citizens would be punished for committing

Aggravated felonies are specific to immigrants. They are a category of crimes that, for citizens, may only amount to misdemeanors. For example, failing to appear in court is an aggravated felony for an immigrant. The range of crimes that are considered aggravated felonies range from minor infractions to serious crimes such as murder.

Losing one’s right to remain in the United States may mean losing one’s family, one’s job, or even one’s safety. Immigrants can fight to protect their criminal records and their options for remaining in the United States. They can work with criminal defense attorneys who understand their unique legal problems and who are prepared to fight for their rights and protections.