Saturday, February 24, 2007

Immigration Consequence of a Criminal Conviction

This is a very brief summary of law regarding the consequences of a criminal conviction under the Immigration and Naturalization Act (“INA”). The INA allows certain non-citizens to live legally in the United States either temporarily or permanently. If a non-citizen takes some action that violates the conditions of legal residency, however, he or she becomes “removable”, that is, that he or she will be deported from the United States to his or her country of origin.

The law considers as reasons for deporting a non-citizen, among other, whether the person has committed a criminal act, has committed an immigration law violation, is a threat to national security or whether the immigrant would become a public charge.

INA sometimes allow removable non-citizens to obtain a relief from deportation. A removable person may be able to obtain certain “waivers” or pardons or may be able to obtain a “cancellation” of his or her removal or deportation. However, such waivers and/or cancellations are unavailable in certain cases and, in those cases that the remedy is available, it is within the discretion of the U.S. Department of Justice to grant a relief from deportation.

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