As an immigrant living in Texas, you may have experienced numerous challenges and stresses since you arrived in the United States. Perhaps you've already overcome several obstacles in the process of obtaining your green card. But even if your resident status is good, you may still be at risk of removal from the country under certain circumstances. As a non-citizen, you remain subject to all U.S. immigration laws, including those pertaining to deportation.
Consequences of arrest and criminal conviction as an immigrant can be severe. This doesn't mean that you are without options to protect your rights and avoid removal. With proper legal advice and representation, you can fight your case in court.
What do I need to know?
You may have a valid green card; you may even own a business and enjoy a successful life in your community. But if you are arrested and convicted of a crime, or you have a past conviction on your record, you may still be subject to removal by immigration authorities.
Here are some important facts regarding U.S. immigration law and deportation that may have an impact on your situation:
- An immigration judge is not always at liberty to make decisions based on individual circumstances and case merit. Sometimes strict laws require judges to order removal, no matter what extenuating details may exist.
- Statistics indicate that more immigrants have been deported since 2000 than all deportations combined in the past century.
- Some misdemeanors -- not just felonies -- may act against your legal status as an immigrant.
- Criminal convictions do not merely keep you from being allowed to live and work in the United States; a conviction may cause you to lose the legal status you already have, which may prevent you from re-entering the United States if you leave.
Be prepared -- with knowledge and advice
It doesn't take much to trigger a life-changing case against you. For example, getting into a fight may place your legal status at risk if police arrest you and charge you with assault and you are convicted. Other seemingly minor offenses, like accidentally writing a bad check, may also endanger your residency.
One of the best ways to avoid status problems is to research U.S. immigration law ahead of time. Since such laws are complex, especially if language poses a significant barrier, professional help is important. Many immigrants have overcome serious threats to their statuses with the assistance of experienced immigration and naturalization law attorneys.