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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    6

    Default Should I Apply for Citizenship Despite a Felony Record

    Hello everyone,

    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.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    73,569

    Default Re: Should I apply for citizenship

    I doubt that your conviction would be so consistently overlooked, particularly with your submitting proof of your conviction along with your immigration documentation. If it were me I would apply for citizenship. If you're that concerned, and I can see why you would be, get a second opinion from an experienced immigration lawyer following a full review of your circumstances.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Should I apply for citizenship

    Thanks Mr. Knowitall. By the way, did you ever hear or know of any case where someone was given a citizenship with a felony record?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Should I apply for citizenship

    I am not any help because I have the same question as you, but I want you to know that we are going thru something similar here, my hubby was convicted of a felony,and spent three years in prison in NJ and then NY. I want to file papers at INS, but am a bit nervous. i will keep reading the forum here and see what other info i can come up with.
    Goood luck.
    Debbie

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Should I apply for citizenship

    thanks debbie. Good luck to you and your hubby as well. I asked my attorney to show some proof (hard copy) of anyone who was given citizenship with a felony record. He's still searching. My guess is that this issue is not that common because others who are in our situation just automatically thinks that they're banned so that they just don't bother applying. Keep your fingers crossed.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    New York, New York
    Posts
    1

    Thumbs up Re: Should I Apply for Citizenship

    Hey, my dad was arrested a few times in 2006. By that time he was a legal resident for 6 years already. After he got out of jail, he immediately applied for citizenship. He got his lawyer and everything. Anyways, the point of this confusing story is that he has been a legal CITIZEN for a year and a half now. I'm not telling you that yours will be overlooked, but you should definitely look into this, because you have a very big chance of becoming a citizen. Good luck everyone.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Should I Apply for Citizenship

    I am also in the same situation as you. I also have been convicted of a robbery felony when i was a young boy. My renewal is up and i am wondering if you have had any problems as of yet. As for me, after speaking with many immigration attorneys I have been getting mixed advice from them. Some even telling me that I should not go ahead with the renewal because it can bring up a possible deportation up sooner then it should. I was convicted at the age of 17 yet trialed as an adult and am currently 30 years old. I was brought to the US with my guardians at the age of 6 so in total I have been here for 24 years. Have you resolved your issue yet?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Should I Apply for Citizenship

    "Do research USCIS law educate yourself"....this will tell you what situation you be in. I've read that having multiple turpitude could cause deportation...two or more ...depends on nature of crime. I would definitely keep seeing the right attorney. Do not ask in forum because all you will get is answer seek a lawyer. you may post of your knowledge from USCIS law and share, this way it will help other people in same situation but may be different incident or crime they have.

    A person ("a refugee") i've known that fix's my car time to time..told me his story that he was here since 2 yrs old with his parents and siblings, now that he was I believe he's 34-36 now and caught up in trouble once I guess for grand theft at age 25? (aggravated felony accdg. USCIS law)... he was detained by local law charged with Felony but Immigration Agents took him from there and detained again for 2 to 3 months (technically whatever the conviction/sentence in State law is different from USCIS law..seems like more of upgrade sentence. Ex: Gross Misd. to Felony, depends now on their numbers of Jail time was served or even though it was stayed)..Confiscated his Green Card and released, but then & now he has to report/call monthly. Educate yourself get info. online USCIS Law and get understanding of the law this will tell you. What immigration wanted to see if you have a good moral character (GMC). His brother applied citizenship and granted...However, his citizenship was strip/taken away and I believe that he did not disclose or found moral turpitude of his crime.

    ex: the most day's that max jail time even it "stay" for "365" days (1 yr) is considered as moral turpitude.

    Yes, we do all make mistake/mishap even once that could ruined your life/status here in U.S. Reading the USCIS law could give an Idea then set seek a good lawyer, keep shopping around until you feel they are on same page you are! Good Luck and God help us all!

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