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Five Things to Know About Criminal Convictions and Immigration Law

If you are facing fraud charges or have been convicted of a criminal offense, you may be concerned about how that conviction will impact you. Such concerns are particularly important for anyone who is currently residing in the U.S. on an immigrant visa or is in the process of seeking a green card. Certain types of criminal offenses, including some fraud convictions, can result in consequences for your immigration status. At the Law Offices of Jonathan Minkus, we are committed to serving clients who are facing immigration consequences related to criminal charges or a criminal conviction. 

While it is extremely important for us to develop a strategy based on the particular facts of your case, we want to provide you with some basic information about fraud and other criminal convictions as they pertain to immigration law. The following are five things to know before you speak with an aggressive Chicago criminal defense attorney. 

Conviction for a “Crime of Moral Turpitude” can Impact Your Immigration Status

If you are convicted of  “crime of moral turpitude,” you may not be eligible to remain in the United States. This type of conviction can have a significant impact on a person’s immigration status, resulting in removal or deportation. There is no clear-cut definition of a “crime of moral turpitude” that lists all offenses that may count, but U.S. law explains that the “most common offenses involving moral turpitude include . . . fraud, larceny, or intent to harm persons or things.” 

Fraud is Usually Considered a “Crime of Moral Turpitude” 

As you can see from the definition above, fraud is almost always considered a crime of moral turpitude. Accordingly, if you are facing fraud charges or have been convicted of a fraud-related offense, you need to speak with a Chicago criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. 

Aggravated Felony Conviction can Affect Your Immigration Status

Beyond crimes that are classified as “crimes of moral turpitude,” an aggravated felony can also impact your immigration case. There are a wide variety of crimes that are considered to be aggravated felonies under state and federal law. If you are facing serious criminal charges, you should hire a criminal defense attorney with experience handling immigration issues in criminal cases. 

Illinois Sentence Reductions for Immigration Purposes Will Not be Accepted by the Federal Government

As you now know, an aggravated felony conviction can result in a variety of immigration consequences depending upon your current immigration status, including removal, denial of citizenship, and/or denial of admissibility into the United States. As you also know, aggravated felonies are numerous. For an aggravated felony to result in removal or other immigration action, it typically must involve a prison sentence of a particular length. Until recently, if a state court—such as an Illinois state court—reduced a person’s sentence in order to prevent it triggering an immigration action, the BIA would respect the state court’s decision. However, in an October 2019 opinion in Matter of Thomas/Thompson, Attorney General Barr changed the rule. Now, a sentence reduction will only prevent an immigration action if it occurred based on a “procedural or substantive invalidity.” 

You May be Eligible for a Waiver 

After a conviction that could have immigration consequences, you may be able to seek a waiver. In order to qualify for a waiver, you must meet several conditions that include having a qualifying relative in the United States who would suffer a hardship if you could not remain here. 

Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Chicago 

If you have concerns about your immigration status and are facing criminal charges, you should get in touch with a Chicago criminal defense attorney today. Contact the Law Offices of Jonathan Minkus to learn more about how we can help.

For Over 33 Years

Senior Partner Jonathan Minkus has successfully defended individuals charged with every conceivable criminal offense, from traffic misdemeanors to death-penalty eligible homicides.

We urge you to contact us for a FREE, confidential, initial consultation.

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