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Guilty Pleas To Crimes – Immigration Impact

The U.S. Supreme Court decided in 2010 that the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution

requires a lawyer defending a client in a criminal case to explain the immigration implications of a guilty plea. When the nature of the crime a charged would require the defendant’s certain deportation his/her, lawyer is obliged to inform the client of this. If the crime does not carry a certain threat of deportation, the lawyer need to the client that the guilty plea may incur a risk of deportation. Only if the client is informed of the consequences of a guilty plea can he/she make an intelligent choice to accept or decline the plea arrangement.


Any alien after admission who breaks the law relating to an offense for possessing or selling a controlled substance is deportable unless it is for a single offense for possession only of 30 grams or less of marijuana for personal use.


If the potential term of imprisonment is one year or longer and if committed within five years of the alien’s admission to the United States, moral turpitude for dishonest, vile or depraved conduct such as murder, kidnapping, rape, fraud, spousal or child abuse, and aggravated felonies would result in deportation with a wavier of excludability and inadmissibility of to return to the U.S. Two or more convictions of a crime of moral turpitude would insure deportation even of no sentence of imprisonment has been imposed.


The immigration statutes define exactly which crimes are aggravated felonies but roughly they are the same as the crimes of moral turpitude such as domestic violence, child abuse, murder, rape, etc.


Any alien who admits to committing or conspiring to comment a crime moral turpitude may be removed unless the admission is made by a minor or it is an admission of only a petty offense. As an example if an alien admits to a Consul at a visa interview that he/she committed the essential elements of a controlled substance offense, the alien would be inadmissible even though he/she had not charged or convicted of such as offense.


The Attorney General may grant a waiver of inadmissibility resulting from crime less heinous than aggravated felonies of turpitudes crime. Waivers may be granted to spouses, parents, sons, or daughters who are U.S. citizen or permanent resident who can show extreme hardship to themselves if the alien is not admitted. For a permanent resident in the United States to qualify for a Waiver, he/she must have resided continuously in the United States for at least seven years immediately prior the date of the start of removal proceedings.

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