New immigration law leaves out criminals

 Stephanie Fakih, The Daily Record Newswire

President Obama’s plans for immigration reform does not help those non-U.S. citizens with criminal convictions or those currently facing criminal charges. In an attempt to fix our immigration system, President Obama proposed three things: 

• First, better-securing the U.S. borders by providing border patrol agents better resources, while also speeding up the return of people found crossing illegally into the U.S.;

• Second, making it easier for high-skilled immigrants, graduates and entrepreneurs to stay and contribute to our economy; and

• Finally, a “deal” to millions of immigrants in our country who: (1) have been here illegally for more than five years; and (2) have American citizen children or illegal resident children; and (3) that register and pass a criminal background check; and (4) who pay a fair share of taxes. These people may apply to stay in the U.S. temporarily, without fear of deportation. The deal does not apply to anyone who has come to this country recently. It does not apply to anyone who might come to America illegally in the future. It does not grant citizenship or the right to stay here permanently, or offer the same benefits that citizens receive.

Under current U.S. immigration law, a non-U.S. citizen may be deported or deemed inadmissible for certain criminal convictions including: crimes against children, most drug offenses, domestic violence crimes, personal protection orders and crimes involving moral turpitude, for example crimes involving lying or stealing. President Obama’s immigration reform will not change this.

Today, a non-U.S. citizen, including permanent residents (commonly known as green card holders), people here on a visiting visa or other student or work visa and those who entered the U.S. illegally or entered legally but remained beyond their authorized stay, face severe consequences if convicted of certain crimes. A conviction results from a formal judgment of guilt (by a judge or jury) or a plea of guilty. Any conviction, including a guilty plea that results in a conviction, can be used by the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) as grounds for removal or inadmissibility. Removal is better known as deportation and inadmissibility means it may be impossible for a non-U.S. citizen to obtain entry into the United States or to obtain permanent resident status (a green card).”

If you are a non-U.S. citizen and were recently charged with a crime, you may be facing various consequences and should speak with a criminal defense lawyer to protect your rights and help ensure you will not be deported or deemed inadmissible into the U.S.


Stephanie Fakih opened up Rights First Law in 2014. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan and received her Juris Doctor degree from Fordham University School of Law in New York City. She is licensed to practice law in California and Michigan state courts and in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.


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