Having a criminal record can make immigration to the U.S. very difficult. However, your situation may not be as dire as it seems if you have the help of a good immigration attorney. The immigration lawyers of the Chávez Law Group may be able to help you achieve your dream of immigration and a fresh start, even if you have a criminal background.
Criminal Background Immigration Waivers
Even if you have a criminal background, you may be eligible for a waiver. If you have immediate family members with legal permanent residency or U.S. citizenship, and your absence from the U.S. would cause them undue hardship, you may receive a hardship waiver.
Several factors are considered when determining hardship, including health, economic factors, and the emotional impact of being separated from you. The concern is how it will affect your family members who are citizens or residents, not how it affects you.
The term aggravated felony can be very confusing. When it comes to immigration law, the term applies to a list of offenses which may or may not fall under “aggravated” or “felony” as defined by the law when and/or where you were convicted.
An aggravated felony conviction can be used as grounds to deport a non-citizen, even if the offense is newly added to the list and was not considered an aggravated felony at the time of conviction.
Crime of Moral Turpitude
This is the most uncertain area of criminal background and immigration because there is no set definition of moral turpitude and no specific list of crimes which fall under the heading. Moral turpitude generally means that you are of low character, dishonest, or your crime was socially unacceptable. This can include violent crimes such as sexual assault, victimless crimes such as prostitution, and other crimes such as forgery.
Specific Immigration and Nationality Act Crimes
The Immigration and Nationality Act also lists specific crimes which can prevent you from achieving legal residency. These include domestic violence, firearms violations, and violation of laws regarding controlled substances.
You are allowed one petty offense without the need for a waiver. Drug-related convictions do not qualify as petty offenses. A conviction qualifies as a petty offense if the maximum sentence for the offense does not exceed one year of imprisonment and your actual sentence was not more than six months.
If you or someone you love is interested in obtaining U.S. citizenship or is facing deportation, please talk to the immigration lawyers of the Chávez Law Group, today, or submit our online questionnaire.