Some Of The Most Troubling Immigration Decisions
The law around criminal convictions and the immigration consequences are complicated and always shifting. It’s an area that immigration judges get wrong sometimes because the law is complicated, and they don’t know the actual law and what convictions carry what immigration consequences.There is something called the categorical approach which is that you’re only convicted of the minimum elements that a jury would have to find in order for you to be convicted of a crime and that may be less than what you did or less than what the title of the crime is there’s a lot of confusion. It is confusing for attorneys and judges to figure out what a conviction means for immigration purposes. So these decisions often need to be challenged.
Difficulty For Immigrants Challenging Unlawful Or Unfair Decisions
It’s not something I would recommend doing alone. If you were to handle it alone and got a bad decision, an appeal is a lot more complicated. Only about 5% of appeals are successful. It is something that you should explore if you’re unhappy with the decision, especially if it’s a deportation order that’s going to mess up your life. But you do need to be ready for the fact that it’s going to be an uphill battle.
Information Needed To Initiate A Case Against An Unlawful Or Unfair Immigration Decision
The most valuable thing you need is a copy of the full decision.
This way I can see why the judge made the decision, and I can start trying to look for ways to poke holes in it.
I will also need full details about someone’s criminal history. This is something that a lot of people are shy talking about but it’s something you’ve got to get over because I can’t help you if I don’t know all the details. As your attorney, I’m here to help you and I need to know what the situation is that I’m facing.
The next thing I need is your immigration record. This information should include details such as:
- Whether you are here legally or illegally;
- What kind of visas or other statuses you have ever had;
- Whether there’s ever been an accusation of fraud against you by the government;
- What country you’re from;
- When you came to the United States matters;
- What family members you have that are US citizens or permanent residents;
- Any special hardships that family members might suffer if you get deported;
- And more…
There is a lot of information I need to know. In the initial interview, I will be asking some probing questions that are a lot more detailed and somewhat embarrassing than you’re used to talking to a stranger about. But I’m not asking these questions for fun. I need to know about it to know if I can help you and to know how to help you.
Potential Actions Taken To Challenge These Decisions
If you have a criminal record that is affecting your immigration situation, you will likely need to take extra steps to find a favorable review of your case.
A criminal record of any kind is going to be a negative discretionary factor and someone’s going to look at it and be less likely to give you what you want. However, where it’s only discretionary, requesting a new trial is not going to help because they’re still going to be able to see that you were charged and make their own judgment.
This matters when it makes you eligible for deportation when you would not otherwise be deportable; makes you ineligible for relief from deportation; or makes you ineligible for some kind of status that you want to petition for.
All drug crimes, any offenses involving violence or dishonesty, falsely claiming to be a US citizen, and certain firearm crimes have immigration consequences. There are a whole lot of different crimes that carry immigration consequences.
If you have any of those convictions and they are causing you problems, (or if you’re about to apply for something and are worried they’re going to cause you problems), then it’s worthwhile to assess whether there was anything that makes the conviction illegal or unconstitutional.
The most common reason for vacating a plea would be if your attorney advised you poorly about immigration consequences and you were forced into a plea because they weren’t ready for trial. If the case went to trial and you got convicted, an appeal will be more complicated.
Then I would need to review the whole trial record and there are a lot of things that could have gone wrong if the judge made an incorrect ruling, the judge gave the jury incorrect instructions, your attorney asked them to exclude a juror that had a bias or if your attorney failed to ask the judge to do something they should have done, such as give the jury an instruction that would have helped your case or failed to present a viable defense when one was available. It is going to be case-specific on what’s doable but there are options.
For more information on Dealing With Troubling Immigration Decisions, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (617) 297-7502 today.