Immigrants typically have to follow all of the same “rules” as citizens of the United States and have some additional expectations placed upon them. They usually need to be able to pass background checks and will typically need to avoid breaking the law while living in the United States if they hope to renew their visas. Breaking the law could even impact an immigrant’s right to remain in the country while their visa remains active.
When immigrants get arrested, they may face numerous consequences depending on the charges that they face. A conviction could have dire implications, especially if they hope to remain in the country. There are two common reasons that those accused of a crime as immigrants in the United States may end up removed from the country as a result of a conviction.
The crime itself may trigger immigration consequences
Those accused of violent offenses, felonies or crimes of moral turpitude may find that a guilty plea or conviction has direct immigration consequences. Drug offenses and even domestic violence can be enough to result in someone’s removal from the United States. Even those accused of minor offenses may find that their immigration status is at risk if the sentences for those offenses are long enough to cause immigration penalties.
A conviction could cost them their job
Many immigrants enter the country on employment-based visas, and therefore keeping a job we’ll play a role in someone’s right to stay in the country. Many employers include clauses in employment contracts that allow them to terminate workers convicted of certain crimes. Losing a job could very well lead to losing a visa. While there is a 60-day grace period for those with certain visas, like H-1B visas, after a job loss, not every worker qualifies for a grace period in which they can look for a new job.
The surest way to avoid the immigration consequences of a criminal charge involves assertively defending against criminal allegations. Those who avoid a conviction can potentially preserve their employment and avoid the consequences that might impact their eligibility for a visa in the future. Responding appropriately to criminal charges in the United States is often of the utmost importance for those living in the country as immigrants. Seeking legal guidance is a good place to start.