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New York Criminal Charges Affecting Immigration Status

Criminal charges can gravely affect a person’s immigration status, from deportation, to detention in an immigration jail, to the denial of re-admission to the United States. This can cut a person off from their family, friends, and children, especially where the person has been in the country for a long period of time. While obviously serious criminal charges such as murder, rape, and fraud have a greater likelihood to trigger Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigations, less severe and less obvious crimes can have the same exact same result, depending on your background and the facts and circumstances of the particular case and situation.

If you are facing criminal charges which could affect your immigration status, get the help you need from an experienced immigration defense lawyer as soon as possible. Immigration law is very complex and there may be avenues available to you which you do not realize. In addition, the interplay between the immigration system and the criminal justice system can be equally complex, and having attorneys that can handle your situation in both forums can be essential.

Criminal Charges Affecting Immigration

While many criminal and even non-criminal charges may affect immigration, those involving offenses that are categorized by the federal government as “aggravated felonies” or “crimes of moral turpitude” are generally the most serious and likely to result in immigration consequences. The term “aggravated felony” is unique to immigration law as it can include many types of crimes, including both felonies and misdemeanors, depending on the circumstances. It does not necessarily line up with “aggravated felonies” as defined by a particular state, or with “violent felonies” as defined by the New York Penal Law.

Some of the most obvious and common types of crimes include that will fall into these classifications are:

  • Murder
  • Drug trafficking
  • Illegal trafficking of firearms or incendiary devices
  • Simple battery
  • Filing fraudulent tax returns
  • Theft
  • Failing to appear in court when summoned

Charges that amount to “crimes of moral turpitude” is also a concept and classification unique to federal immigration law. This characterization of a particular offense refers to violations of the accepted moral standards of a particular community, in this case the very large and disparate community of the United States. It is impossible to list all of the crimes that can be included in this category, especially since it applies across the country and the treatment and categorization of crimes in this regard often changes. However, the most likely crimes to fall into this category include:

  • Tax evasion
  • Perjury
  • Child abuse
  • Wire fraud
  • Carrying a concealed weapon
Common Risks of Criminal Conviction

Criminal charges can have a significant adverse effect on immigration status and can result in deportation, mandatory detention, inadmissibility, and denial of naturalization. Deportation means leaving the country, regardless of immigration status. Those who are deported can face serious challenges with re-entering the country in the future. There are several types of convictions which may result in mandatory detention without the possibility of bond during the removal process, meaning that an individual will be held in a facility until a judge rules on their deportation.

This is a lifetime bar to adjust immigration status to permanent status and may affect an individual’s re-entry into the country. A person can be denied naturalization for three years or more – even if they do not fall into the inadmissibility or deportation categories. Individuals who are facing a criminal charge with the potential to affect their immigration status should contact an experienced New York immigration defense lawyer to discuss their situation and determine what options are available to them.

Help From a Lawyer

If you are facing criminal charges which could affect your immigration status, it is important to understand that you may have options. An experienced New York immigration defense lawyer can review your situation and determine what legal defenses make sense for you. Immigration judges take many factors into account when deciding whether to go forward with a deportation, including employment history, hardships, criminal history, tax history, civic activities and how long they have lived in the United States. An experienced immigration lawyer can make all the difference.

Call the criminal defense attorneys and former Manhattan prosecutors at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.

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