If you or a loved one is charged with violating U.S. immigration law, you will most likely be placed in removal (deportation) proceedings. Navigating this process without a lawyer is difficult and frightening. Although anyone facing removal proceedings has the right to be represented by a lawyer, the courts will not appoint one for you and there are no “public defenders” in immigration court. This means that it is your responsibility to hire an immigration lawyer to represent you. Aretz & Chisholm Immigration can provide you with experienced advice regarding your options and provide professional and compassionate representation in front of the immigration judge.
Once a person is placed in removal proceedings, he or she will have an opportunity to appear before an Immigration Judge to challenge the charge(s) of removability and, if eligible, apply for relief from deportation. For an explanation of these defenses, see Removal Defenses.
Immigration Consequences of Crimes
Many individuals are placed in removal proceedings after being convicted of a crime. It is important to understand that even relatively minor convictions, such as shoplifting or possession of a small amount of marijuana, can have serious and permanent immigration consequences for non-citizens, including lawful permanent residents.
The time to speak with an immigration attorney is before you enter a plea. Once you plead guilty to a crime, it can be difficult or impossible to change the plea, even if you later realize it is causing serious problems for your immigration status. Expunging a conviction or sealing your record later will not erase the conviction for purposes of immigration law, and neither will successful completion of a deferred judgment. Do not assume that just because your criminal case was eventually expunged from your record that you are free from immigration consequences.
If you are a non-citizen and you have ever been convicted of or arrested for a crime, it is essential for you to consult with an immigration attorney before you travel abroad and before you submit any applications to Immigration. An application for naturalization, permanent residence, or renewal of a green card can lead to removal proceedings if the applicant has certain criminal issues.
Aretz & Chisholm Immigration can work with you and your criminal defense attorney to make sure that you understand the possible immigration consequences of your criminal charges, and to avoid or minimize the adverse immigration consequences of certain criminal pleas.
Contact Aretz & Chisholm Immigration today for a consultation regarding your immigration case.