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Showing posts with label crime. Show all posts
Showing posts with label crime. Show all posts

Monday, July 8, 2013

Venezuela Reportedly Offers Asylum to Snowden

     According to a CNN story available here, Venezuela offered political asylum to Edward Snowden.  As many know, Snowden is a former contractor for the U.S. National Security Agency and a former employee of the Central Intelligence Agency.  He leaked details of several top-secret U.S. and British government mass surveillance programs to the press.
     Despite the offer, asylum is NOT available to persons who have allegedly committed serious non-political crimes such as espionage or treason.
     For a strategy that might help your asylum case, scheduled a consultation with the Weston immigration office of Blandon Law at (954) 385-0157.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Deportation, Not Citizenship

     You remember that kid in Little League that never changed his batting stance no matter how many strikes?  One, two, three, out.  One, two, three, out.  Game after game.  Some foreigners are like that.  I recently met with a man who was arrested when he was very young for a crime he may not (or may) have committed.  Doesn't matter.  He did not hire an attorney and was convicted.  Years later he became a legal permanent resident.
     Feeling all is well, he travelled abroad and when he returned Immigration interrogated him for a lengthy period of time at the airport.  Despite this, after Immigration let him go, he did not hire an immigration attorney to sort out the issues.  Sadly, many foreigners incorrectly believe that if they have lived in the U.S. for many years after a conviction -- and have travelled abroad -- they are in some kind of safe harbor.
     Then, he applied for naturalization.  After living in the U.S. over 15 years, he is denied.  And placed in deportation proceedings.  Strike three.
     I'm glad to say he has now hired an attorney.  Change is good.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Modified Categorical Approach

     In addition to the Categorical Approach discussed in an earlier blog, the Modified Categorical Approach helps to determine whether a foreign national is deportable as an aggravated felon.  These are high stakes:  a foreign national convicted AT ANY TIME of a crime which is later determined to be an aggravated felony is deportable and probably not eligible for any kind of waiver.
     It's not that the foreign national broke a law called "aggravated felony."  It's that the foreign national was convicted of breaking one of several types of laws that now an Immigration Judge (IJ) is stating is an aggravated felony.  It's a legal determination and yes, an attorney is a must.
     Where the law is divisible (person can be convicted under the law for either a or b), the IJ normally must limit his/her review to certain documents, known as the record of conviction.  By looking at these documents, the IJ must determine what the foreign national was convicted of.  Otherwise, looking at all the evidence again would turn the IJ proceeding into another criminal trial.  The record of conviction includes the charging document, the transcript of the plea colloquy, the written plea and all findings of the criminal judge to which the foreign national assented.
     Unfortunately, last year, the Supreme Court rejected limiting the analysis to certain documents.  All seems fair game, both for Immigration to use as a weapon to have someone deported and for attorneys to use as a defense to have someone remain.  How that drastic ruling will affect immigration cases this year will definitely be interesting to watch.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Becoming a Resident Through Adjustment Despite Criminal Convictions

     Adjustment of Status is a term used for becoming a legal permanent resident when the foreign national lives in the United States. When there are no criminal convictions, this process is normally completed at an interview with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service.  However, if the foreign national has been convicted of a crime which makes her deportable, Immigration will deny the adjustment and the foreigner will be placed in removal proceedings.

     Interestingly, some crimes make a foreigner deportable, but not inadmissible.  Whether a crime makes a person deportable, inadmissible, or both, involves a criminal analysis performed by an immigration professional.  If the government considers a foreigner inadmissible, it will deny a visa to enter the U.S., adjustment of status to become a resident, or naturalization to become a citizen.

     If the crime does not make the person inadmissible, the Judge during removal proceedings may still grant Adjustment of Status.  Boom, bam.  Not only does the foreigner become a legal permanent resident but also she is no longer deportable.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Does it Matter whether I Vacate my Conviction?

     Generally, a conviction that has been expunged, dismissed or sealed by Florida law remains a conviction for immigration purposes. A foreigner whose case was dismissed and expunged under the Federal First Offender Act (FFOA) may do better. Under the FFOA, a foreigner who is charged in federal court with first-time, simple possession of a controlled substance – for example, marijuana, cocaine – can have his or her case expunged including for immigration purposes. These foreigners can go on not only to become legal permanent residents, but also U.S. citizens.

    Minor nuances make a world of difference when a conviction has been vacated in state court cases. If the conviction was vacated for rehabilitative purposes it remains a conviction for immigration purposes. However, if it was vacated on account of a defect in the criminal proceedings (for example, procedural mistakes or constitutional violations) it will not count. In these cases, the help of an immigration professional is vital.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Defending Un-Convicted Foreign Convicts

      The first step in determining whether criminal activity will have immigration consequences – including removal from the U.S. or detention within the U.S. – calls for a simple question: was the foreigner convicted of a crime?

     In the non-immigration world, that question would have a simple yes or no answer. However, non-American citizens are “convicted” even where no court or jury entered a finding of guilt. The immigration law considers “withholding” of guilt a conviction if:

-- the foreigner enters a plea of nolo contendre (no contest), OR
-- the foreigner admits facts to warrant a finding of guilt
-- the judge orders some form of punishment, penalty or restraint on the foreigner’s liberty

     Even where the judge suspended the sentence in whole or in part or the only penalty imposed was court costs, the foreigner is considered a “convicted” criminal for immigration purposes.
     In order to avoid the consequences of a conviction, a pretrial intervention program is preferred. Under these programs, the foreigner completes a probation-like program, maybe with classes, and in exchange the charges are dropped. The signed statement of guilt that a person arrested usually must make to the prosecutor to enter into a pretrial program does not qualify as an admission under immigration law.

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