Immigration Consequences of Criminal Convictions

When you have a non-US citizen client, whether he’s here legally or not, and your trying to go through your PDEA vs. Kentucky type of admonishments and figure out your–his situation. You want to go through these questions –and, in fact, when you get the hand out it’s not a bad idea to keep it in that file when you’re doing with the non-US citizen — you go through and ask them these questions. You are going to have it on there and you wrote it right off the top because frankly, when you go to the immigration attorney, he’s going to ask you those questions.

It will help us knowing this info, so we can then prepare in what we are going to do. Some of them– for clients without status, did the client enter legally or illegally, Has he ever get caught by immigrations or sent back because he may have been deported before come back in the second time and he may also have a possible federal charge of illegal re-entry act of previous deportation. The US attorneys are prosecuting people, who have been previous deported and come back in especially, if they were deported for a prior aggravated felony, because they really, they just do not want–dealing with those promises – they are doing without. Does the client have any prior arrest or convictions?

As I mentioned, if he is been previously convicted on one of the offenses we talked about — this morning, he already may be subject to deportation not because of the pending charges, but because five years ago, he plead guilty and unlawful carrying of a weapon, domestic balance or one of these other offenses. He also may find out that after he pled guilty to that offense, he already got deported and came back so that will also answer the other part of the question. He asked have I been deported before, after I was harassed for DWI.

Are the client’s parents U.S. citizens? Your client at first glance may appear to be illegally or only have a green card, but as I mentioned the child citizenship Act of 2000, gave natural – gave citizenship to persons that were under 18 and already had their green card, when one of their parents naturalized. The older law required both parents naturalized but after that law, only one parent was required to naturalize. I said 1990 it was 2000, starts with the record 2000 it was under President Clinton.

So ask your client is your mom or dad a citizens and if you want to take it one step further, they say yes! Find out when they naturalized and how old was your client at that time because he if he was under 18 and he had a green card, he is already a US citizen and we had a case involving a person convicted of possession intended to deliver several kilos of cocaine and was subjected to automatic deportation but for the fact mom had naturalized before the time and we were able to pull that off to win that case.

For detained clients, this is for people you have in the situation, they have the ice hold or they are in the custody and they have gotten the ice hold. What is their immigration status? Again, I mentioned that this morning in the presentation — are they permanent residents? Are they living here legally? If they are here legally – do they have that application pending? Do they have that letter of approval notice from a family person — Hey! I got this application pending through mom or dad. Again as I mentioned earlier–this morning. In drug cases, if your client has that letter he’s trying to get his papers through his wife or mom or dad or his brother, and he pleads guilty to any drug offence, with the exception of possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana, he will never be able to get his papers. Doesn’t matter if his wife’s a US citizen or his kids are US citizens or it doesn’t matter if he has any priors.

He will be subject and he will never be able to get his papers and we have a lot of – Well, we have an office at East Texas and [inaudible] and we get a lot of these kind of cases involving cocaine and meth and you know it’s tragic you don’t have an — and.. in some of those situations which you may – you may have look further into the records you find out there were four guys you know somebody called the Police or a bunch of guys drinking beer and getting loud – and there was a table — there was a kitchen table and cocaine was in there and bunch of beer on there and two or four different guys, nobody is sure who they belong to — but it’s his house, and so he is the one that’s being charged. So if you got some wiggle room — in the context for defending that client, that’s where you got to apply it otherwise your client will never be able to get those papers to that family member. For detained clients again — Do they have any prior removals? Has he been deported before? May be its not his first rodeo. May be five years ago in Dallas, we were having a lot of situations where people were getting arrested and deported, getting the ice holds and they sign their deportation after they were stopped for something as simple as a traffic stop.

The guy gets pulled over for running the light, doesn’t have a driver’s license — so they arrest him and immediately call ice. He signs his voluntary return and gets deported — come back 3 days later. Well that previous deportation stops in some of the defenses we may have an immigration side but you want to know that because they will also raise the questions — if he’s been arrested before because you may found out that he was deported before in fact he may have a situation where your client has spent time in TDC — had a green card — was deported by the immigration judge out at Huntsville — but they forget to take his green card out of his wallet, out of his private property. So he gets deported — goes back to the Bridge in Laredo flashes his green card – they let him come in. So he says hey! I came back in legally. But the reality is that previous deportation is not going to be defense and if immigration catches him again, they can still prosecute him free legal re-entry after previous deportation. Now at that point you will face Federal time.

The Attorneys
  • Francisco Hernandez
  • Daniel Hernandez
  • Phillip Hall
  • Rocio Martinez