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Crimes That Prevent U.S. Citizenship

With its proximity to the Mexican Border, Texas has a large immigrant population. The vast majority of immigrants that come to live and work in Texas, whether from Mexico or another country, are looking for better lives for themselves and their families. They are hardworking and looking forward to U.S. citizenship.

U.S. citizenship offers many benefits, however, just because someone obtains a green card, it does not mean that U.S. citizenship will be automatic afterwards. If a permanent resident (green card holder) commits certain crimes, they will be denied U.S. citizenship and in some cases, they will be subject to removal proceedings (deportation).

Have you ever been arrested for a crime?

If you are a green card holder or applying for a green card, and you intend to apply for U.S. citizenship through the naturalization process, your criminal history will be closely scrutinized by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Once you apply for citizenship, USCIS will want to know if you’ve ever been arrested, if you’ve ever been charged with a crime, and whether you’ve ever been convicted. While not every criminal conviction will bar you from becoming a U.S. citizen, some do.

Other types of offenses will raise serious questions about whether you’re a person of good moral character, for example, child abuse, also known as “family violence” here in Texas. If an immigrant were to seriously injure their child, sending them to the hospital, this could pose a major problem with U.S citizenship.

Some crimes that bar permanent residents from citizenship include:

  • Murder
  • Fraudulent crimes ($10,000 or more)
  • Sexual abuse of a minor
  • Drug trafficking
  • Child pornography
  • An aggravated felony (e.g. aggravated assault, aggravated sexual assault)

If you are convicted of murder or an aggravated felony, you will automatically be barred from U.S. citizenship. For example, if you were convicted of an aggravated felony and you applied for U.S. citizenship, then the officer at USCIS who interviews you would have no choice but to deny your naturalization application.

Additionally, if you weren’t already on the USCIS’s radar, you would have received their attention at this point. The agency would probably commence removal proceedings now that they are aware that you have a conviction for an aggravated felony on your criminal record.

Criminal Defense for Immigrants in Plano

If you have been arrested for a crime, it’s important to know whether a conviction could lead to deportation proceedings or if it could bar you from U.S. citizenship. Regardless of your charges, USCIS has the discretion to claim that your offense shows that you lack good moral character, therefore, you need an aggressive defense!

For the strong representation you need, contact our office to meet with a Plano criminal defense lawyer who is experienced in deportation defense!