Multifaceted Consequences of Non-Citizen Conviction: Immigration Law Considerations


As an attorney with extensive experience in immigration and criminal law in New York and New Jersey, I have witnessed firsthand the complex implications a criminal conviction can have on non-citizens. This article aims to dissect the multifaceted consequences non-citizen convictions bear, especially within the purview of U.S. immigration law.

Understanding Non-Citizen Status and Convictions

Defining Non-Citizen: A non-citizen is an individual who does not hold U.S. citizenship, which includes lawful permanent residents (LPRs), visa holders, and undocumented immigrants.

Conviction Explained: In legal terms, a conviction occurs when a person is found guilty of a crime by a court of law. For non-citizens, this could trigger a series of immigration consequences.

Legal Repercussions of Convictions on Immigration Status

Deportation and Inadmissibility

  1. Deportation: A conviction can lead to deportation or removal proceedings, especially for crimes considered as aggravated felonies or crimes involving moral turpitude (CIMT) under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
  2. Inadmissibility: Certain convictions render a non-citizen inadmissible, affecting their ability to re-enter the U.S., adjust status, or obtain a Green Card.

Relief from Deportation

Non-citizens facing deportation may have access to various forms of relief, which include:

  • Asylum: Protection for those facing persecution in their home country.
  • Cancellation of Removal: Available for LPRs and non-permanent residents under specific conditions.
  • Adjustment of Status: A process to obtain LPR status, sometimes available despite a conviction.
  • Waivers of Inadmissibility: Legal forgiveness for the conviction, under certain circumstances.

Impact on Naturalization

A conviction can impact a non-citizen’s eligibility for naturalization, affecting the moral character requirement necessary for U.S. citizenship.

Reference to Laws and Regulations

The INA, particularly sections 212(a) and 237(a), outline the grounds of inadmissibility and deportability related to criminal convictions. Case law and policy memoranda further interpret these statutes.

Technical Language and Coherent Paragraph Structure

Aggravated Felony (AF): This term, first introduced in the INA, refers to serious crimes that almost always result in deportation. AFs include but are not limited to murder, rape, and drug trafficking.

Crime Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMT): A concept with no exact definition in the INA, but generally refers to conduct that shocks the public conscience.

Hierarchical Information Flow

  1. Citizenship and Green Card Basics: Understanding the fundamentals of U.S. citizenship and lawful permanent residency.
  2. Deportation Relief: Moving from broader concepts to specific forms of relief available to non-citizens with convictions.

Author’s Experience

As a seasoned attorney in the fields of immigration and criminal law, I have navigated these complex issues, successfully advocating for non-citizen clients facing adverse immigration consequences due to criminal convictions.

FAQ-Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What is an aggravated felony in the context of immigration law? A1: An aggravated felony, under immigration law, refers to a classification of crimes that are considered particularly severe and carry significant immigration consequences, including deportation.

Q2: Can a non-citizen with a criminal conviction still apply for a Green Card? A2: It is possible, but it depends on the nature of the crime. Some convictions can make a non-citizen inadmissible, while others may allow for a waiver or other forms of relief.

Q3: Are all crimes involving moral turpitude grounds for deportation? A3: While many CIMTs can lead to deportation, there are exceptions and forms of relief available. The specific circumstances of the crime and the individual’s immigration status are crucial factors.

Q4: What experience do you have in dealing with non-citizen convictions? A4: I have represented numerous non-citizens in both immigration and criminal courts, helping to mitigate the immigration consequences of their convictions whenever possible.

Q5: How does a conviction affect a non-citizen’s chance of naturalization? A5: A conviction can affect the good moral character assessment, which is a requirement for naturalization. However, the impact varies based on the crime’s severity and when it occurred.

Explore these articles:

  1. Exploring the Waiver for Aggravated Felony in U.S. Immigration Law
  2. How to Draft an Effective Writ of Mandamus Petition
  3. Understanding Detention by Immigration and Customs Enforcement: How Long Can ICE Hold You in Jail?
  4. The Influence of Writ of Mandamus on Politics
  5. Navigating Legal Avenues: Writ of Mandamus and Access to Public Information
  6. Writ of Mandamus and Its Relationship with Constitutional Rights
  7. Emergency Stay Request: Your Legal Lifeline in Deportation Proceedings
  8. Green Card Holder Criminal Defense: Legal Relief and Expert Guidance
  9. A Deep Dive into Section 212a3c of the Immigration and Nationality Act
  10. Exploring Alternatives to Writs of Mandamus: Other Legal Remedies in Immigration
  11. Debunking Myths and Misconceptions: Common Reasons for Deportation
  12. How to Apply for the 212a6ci Waiver: A Step-by-Step Guide
  13. Immigration Court vs. Administrative Appeals: Choosing the Right Path
  14. Understanding Aggravated Assault 2nd-Degree Charges and Their Impact on Immigration Status
  15. Understanding the Role of USCIS in Immigration Proceedings

Feel free to click on the links to read these articles!