Does an Arrest Affect Immigrant Status?
Fort Worth Criminal Defense Law Firm Discusses the Answer
For the average American, getting arrested could mean spending time in jail, paying some fines, and generally losing some of their hard-earned reputation. Of course, a conviction is required for the more serious penalties to affect them. For a foreign immigrant with a green card or any other type of lawful permanent resident, an arrest can be devastating to their immigration status, with or without a conviction.
If an Immigrant is Convicted
In the scenario that you were convicted of a crime and do not file for an appeal, you can be subject to a myriad of penalties. You are likely to be hit with the same penalties a full U.S. citizen would have faced, but with some additional caveats. Upon release from any jail sentence you complete, you might also discover that you are being released from the country as well.
Depending on the severity of the crime linked to your conviction, you could:
- Undergo immigration status review
- Be deported immediately
- Lose naturalization
- Be stripped of any chance of regaining admittance
If an Immigrant is Only Arrested
Being arrested but never convicted – you win an innocence verdict or the case is dismissed – is a severe inconvenience for an American citizen. For someone holding a green card or visa, it could have them removed from the country. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) work closely together to prevent drug and gun trafficking in the country. If you are an immigrant and are arrested but never convicted for a drug or gun crime, or any crime that could be linked to a criminal organization, you could still be deported based on suspicion alone.
Protecting Yourself from Removal
If you are not a full citizen of the United States, you need to be aware of these complications regarding your immigration status if you are arrested. Acting quickly and consulting with an experienced criminal lawyer is crucial for defending your name and holding onto your visa or green card. If you are arrested in Texas for crimes both minor and severe, you can rely on me, Fort Worth Criminal Defense Attorney Samuel Terry, to step up and advocate on your behalf. Contact my firm to learn more about your legal options or for a free case evaluation.