I live in Georgia. Here's my story. I've been a permanent resident for over 25 years. I'm married to H-1-B visa status wife and our I-130 is pending. My parents and siblings are all US citizens. I didn't apply for citizenship because I have (1) felony conviction (robbery) from 1991 in State of New Jersey and served 3years in prison. I renewed my green card just recently and received my new card without any problems. Maybe I got lucky. The process only took 8 weeks. I hired an attorney for renewal because I was afraid that I might encounter problems such as deportation due to conviction. I even submitted my conviction document when I went for my biometric appointment. I didn't need a lawyer for the renewal but, better safe than sorry.
I need a second opinion. My attorney suggests that I should apply for a citizenship. I'm aware that I'm permanently barred from becoming a citizen due to felony conviction. He said the law is not that straight forward and that my case has good chance because it's my only conviction and it happened 16 years ago and have not done anything wrong since. And deporting me would be unusually cruel because I came to US as a young child and lived most of my life here. He suggest that if I get denied, then I should file for 212C.
Whatever the reasons are, I'm confused and worried. Am I asking for trouble if I apply for citizenship? Is it possible for me to become a US citizen?
Did the INS overlook my conviction document when they approved my green card renewal? Don't they run a fingerprint check with the FBI?
I could just be a permanent resident for rest of my life if I don't encounter trouble when traveling outside of US but, I know that I will if I do. I would like to visit my native country to see my wife's family.
My attorney seems like a decent man. I don't think he telling me to do things that will jeopardize my status just because he wants to make money. What should I do?
Your comments, suggestions and knowledge will be greatly appreciated.