Immigration Interview: Secret Criminal History
When applying for Green Card status and you are preparing for your interview and you have been arrested, ticketed, convicted or have any criminal history at all here is what to do.
Hi my name is Neal Datta and I’m an immigration attorney here in New York City. Today I want to talk a little bit about the process of applying for your Green Card. Where you are going to be going to an interview, but you have been arrested. Either you have gotten a ticket, you have been given a citation, you have been convicted, have done hard time, or whatever it is that might have happened to you. The most important thing to remember is do not think they don’t know about your criminal record, they do. I can’t tell you how many times I have had clients who have come to me after having filed their applications either on their own or through another attorney and said, “Well when I went to my interview they asked me if I have ever been arrested. And I said no. But I had been arrested. And then they found out.”
And people naturally are maybe ashamed of what happened. They of course may regret it, and they certainly feel bad about what happened, and they are not proud of it. And so it is almost impossible that you’re going to slip through without them discovering that you have been arrested.
Now I have got several clients who actually did get away with lying and getting their Green Card. So there they were happy healthy wealthy and wise, traveling back and forth, having families, living, buying houses and then one day after returning from a sojourn abroad, they were stopped because finally what they had done popped-up. It got sucked up into the computer system and they put 2 and 2 together and then they got a problem. They’ve been arrested they’ve been detained and now they are trying to take away their Green Card.
Just because you have been arrested or cited with an offence or taken to the police station one day in handcuffs and they let you go. You have to reveal it. Ok and do not worry.
Very often, the mere fact that you have been arrested or even convicted of a crime is not a basis for denying your Green Card. In other words even if you have been convicted of certain crimes, you still can get your Green Card. The key, however, is that you tell the truth. If you’ve been convicted of a crime, arrested, cited or given a violation before you apply for your Green Card. Before you go to an interview you need to sit down with an experienced immigration attorney. You need to have somebody look at the conviction, look at the record and try to determine whether or not your particular situation will render you subject for deportation or not.
There are certain offenses that even if you are convicted will not prevent you from still obtaining your Green Card. An example of those might be shoplifting, simple assault, reckless driving, even drunk driving is not a basis to refuse your Green Card statutorily.
Again, as I said, people often make the same mistake and they think they are able to get away with it, and they won’t. So I guess the lesson is for today is you if have any type of criminal history or have had any type of contact with law enforcement, that you reach out and consult with a competent immigration attorney prior to filling anything with Immigration. Maybe, that even if you have a criminal record you are going to be OK. You are going to be able to go forward and get your Green Card as long as you tell the truth disclose what happened, provide a certified disposition of arrest and then try to say what has changed in your life. Why you are rehabilitated and why it is that you are not the same guy you were when that happened. And you can move forward with your life.
Again if you guys have any question or need any further information, feel free to send us an email here. We try to answer as many emails as we can. And if you’d like you can also make an appointment and come on down to the office.
So I hope this has been helpful and come back next time we’ll try to give you some more information.