Criminal Activity and Complications for a Permanent Resident, Visa Holder, Pending Applicant, Immigration Petitioner and their Family Members:

While in the United States, it is important for a person to obey all Federal Laws. It is also important to obey local state laws and ordinances. Failure to do so could lead to various negative consequences, which include but are not limited to deportation.

The government provides all the reasons why a person may be denied entry into the United States. The reason does not have to be a criminal reason either. An example of this is a person living outside the United States and is attempting to obtain a Visa from the closest American Embassy. Others may be denied entry once they obtained a temporary visa, are returning from abroad, and are lawful permanent residence, or even a person seeking entry with no documentation at all. These people may be turned away at various point of entries such as airport, seaport, or even a land port.

It is important to distinguish between a United States Citizen, and a lawfully permanent resident. A lawfully permanent resident may be denied entry when coming from abroad back into the United States. It doesn’t matter if it’s this person third, fourth, or even fifth time returning from abroad. They may be denied entry just as easily as a person coming to the country for the first time. An American Citizen is not subject to such scrutiny when returning from abroad.

Furthermore, there may be those who are physically already in the United States but wish to change their status to a more favorable one; for example, a person lawfully in the United States with a student visa wishing to obtain citizenship. These people would need to show that they have “good moral character” before they are granted citizenship.

Good Moral Character must be held for 5 years. To be a person of good moral character, the person must be in good standing with the government. They achieve this by not committing crimes for the 5 years they have been in the country, prior to applying. If a person commits a crime during those 5 years, they may not be found to have good moral character and may be denied naturalization.

Most importantly for those seeking entry into the United State through whichever port of entry is their criminal activity. Even if the petitioner has obtained temporary visa, student visa, etc. may be turned away at the port of entry if the government knows about the petitioner’s criminal conviction; or if they even suspect criminal activity.

This is why it is important to reveal anything that they may believe to be potential grounds of inadmissibility to the consulate when they are first attempting to obtain a visa. At the same time as when they are revealing such information, the petitioner should also try to seek a waiver instead of crossing their fingers and hoping for the best during the admission process.

After April 1, 1997, A legalized permanent resident with a conviction after that date, and who traveled to a different country is treated similar to all other non- American Citizens. So, if there is a criminal record conviction after April 1, 1997 attached to the returning green card holder, they are subject to the same inspections as a non- American Citizen.

They may not lose their citizenship immediately, however their reentry is held in abeyance until a waiver is granted. If the waiver is granted, the green card holder regains their original status.
And Adjustment of Status is the process by which a person attempts to switch their current visa status to a lawful permanent resident or green card.

This process is used by many individuals who wish to change their status from a temporary one to a permanent one. This could be a family member sponsoring another family member, and employer sponsoring an employee, or by some other basis which makes them eligible such as winning the visa lottery.

Such applicants must apply with the proper government agency.
A parolee is a person who enters the United States physically, however is not classified as admitted into the United States. The Government instead legally classifies the person as still “arriving at a port of entry.” IF department of homeland security initiates removal proceedings, the parolee will face charges of inadmissibility, if the person has not been able to change their status to a more permanent one.

Similar to a parolee is a person who enters the country secretly, i.e. a person who crosses the border without inspection. That means the person did not obtain entry through one of the legal points of entry. These people are referred to as “applicants for admission”. If they are placed in removal proceedings, they will be charged as disallowed under the law and may be removed from the country.

What is the difference between deportability and inadmissibility. They are both similar in what they achieve, it just depends at which point the proceedings start. For example, a person is no deportable if they are applying for a visa at an American consulate anywhere around the world. A person is deportable once they are physically in the United States. Also, certain crimes make a person admissible and not deportable, and vice versa.

Finally, we have the expedited removal of persons convicted of crime. This is a hearing that is made to decide if the crime the non-legal immigrant has committed meets the criteria for expedite processing. These hearings may be held in the prison housing the immigrant and be teleconferenced with a judge.

It is the government’s choice if they should invoke expedited removal. If the crime is determined to have met the criteria for removal, the immigrant has the right to seek counsel and request withholding of removal.

This is an immigration legal blog. It is not intended to be used as legal advise. For further information please contact the law offices of attorney Ramona Kennedy.

Ramona Kennedy (Attorney) received her Jurisprudence Doctorate in America and is a licensed attorney in California (USA). Ramona Kennedy is a member of American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Ramona Kennedy is fluent in English and Farsi (reading & writing) & speaks Azeri Turkish.


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Published by kennedylawblog

Lawyer in California, USA Fluent in American English & Persian (Farsi); Speaks Azeri (Turkish)

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Kennedy Law Ramona Kennedy, Esq. (949)677-0063


Ramona Kennedy (Attorney) received her Jurisprudence Doctorate(Doctorate in law) in America. Ramona Kennedy is a licensed Attorney in California (USA) and a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Ms. Kennedy's areas of practice are US Immigration law, US federal Laws and California State Laws. This is an immigration law blog. It is not intended to be used as legal advise. For further information please contact the law offices of Attorney Ramona Kennedy.

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