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Mevorah Law Offices LLC
DuPage County Attorneys


900 E. Roosevelt Road, Lombard, IL 60148

Phone: 630-932-9100


134 N. Bloomingdale Road, Bloomingdale, IL 60108

Phone: 630-529-4761


105 W. Madison Street, Suite 2200, Chicago, IL 60602

Phone: 630-932-9100


1730 Park Street, Suite 202, Naperville, IL 60563

Phone: 630-420-1000
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Posted on in Immigration

IL immigration lawyerIf you are an immigrant in the United States, even if you have legal status, you must be especially careful never to be associated with crime or even the smallest mistake may be enough to render you deportable. As such, if you find yourself in criminal court or charged with an offense, it is critical to find an attorney to represent you who understands both criminal law and immigration. If your attorney is not well versed in how the two interplay, you may find yourself plea-bargained into a sentence that will render you deportable even though that may be exactly what you seek to avoid.

Crimes of Moral Turpitude and Aggravated Felonies

U.S. immigration law distinguishes two types of criminal convictions as being relevant for immigration purposes. Crimes of moral turpitude (CIMTs) are offenses that are perceived to have an element of fraud or dishonesty, such as theft, but violent crimes like murder will also count because they are so far outside the realm of ‘acceptable’ moral conduct. It can be difficult to assess whether your offense is a CIMT, however, because the term is not explicitly defined. It has been clarified through past cases, but there is a healthy amount of debate over whether many crimes do in fact count as CIMTs.

Similar issues surround the other type of crime that can be problematic, known as an aggravated felony (AF) - though, paradoxically, a crime need not be ‘aggravated’ or even a felony under criminal law in order for it to count as an AF under immigration law. The classification was created in 1988 and at the time, only encompassed a few offenses, but with the passage of the Illegal Immigration Reform & Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA), the category was expanded significantly. A violent crime is almost always guaranteed to be an AF, but if a person commits a crime that does not involve any violence, it can be hard to say.

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Chicago deportation defense attorneys, immigration, criminal charges, criminal charges for immigration, deportationBeing brought up on criminal charges is always frightening and disconcerting. For non-citizen defendants, there is an added dimension to fear. Depending on the nature of the crime committed, it can sometimes be used as a tool for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to deport you. If you have committed a crime, it is imperative that you understand the nature of the charges against you and be aware as to whether it could result in immigration consequences.

Crimes of Moral Turpitude

Many foreign nationals living in the U.S. have had run-ins with law enforcement, though the end results can be anything from a warning to a murder conviction. A significant portion of the crimes that have been alleged against them fall under a category USCIS refers to as crimes of moral turpitude (CIMTs). If you commit a crime of moral turpitude within two years of your admission to the U.S., or more than one in a ‘single scheme’ within five years of admission, it is grounds for deportation.

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Posted on in Immigration

Chicago immigration attorneys, marriage fraudThe trope of marriage fraud is a common staple in movies, especially comedies. However, sham marriages do still take place today, and U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (USCIS) does not find these types of marriages funny in the least.

Since marrying a U.S. citizen is a relatively painless way to obtain permanent resident status, USCIS does its best to ensure that marriages between citizens and foreign nationals are bona fide, with stern consequences if a marriage is found to be bogus.

Marriages Are Strictly Vetted

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criminal penalties immigration, Illinois deportation lawyerThere is much misinformation out in the media about the legal nature of immigration violations. Many believe that if someone is present in the U.S. without documentation, they are committing a crime. Technically, this is not so, aside from in very exceptional cases. Others wonder why it matters--the answer is because a criminal record is a very different matter than a record of civil infractions, for immigration purposes and otherwise. If you are in the U.S. without documentation, it is absolutely imperative that you know what manner of act you have actually committed.

Unlawful Presence

Unlawful presence is exactly what it sounds like - being present in the United States without benefit of legal status. However, lack of ‘legal status’ can be somewhat misleading to the average person, making it sound as though it is a crime, when in reality, unlawful presence is a civil infraction.

It is interesting to note that Congress actually had the opportunity in 2005 to criminalize unlawful presence, and declined to do so. The Sensenbrenner Immigration Bill, the short name for the Border Protection, Antiterrorism and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005, would have made unlawful presence a felony, regardless of circumstance, but after demonstrations around the nation, the Senate voted the bill down.

The only time mere unlawful presence (without any compounding actions) can result in criminal penalties is if it occurs after a person has been formally removed from the country, and then returns without leave to do so. If someone re-enters the U.S. when they have a previous standing removal order, they are at risk of being arrested and sentenced to prison. Most sentences are around two years, but it can vary. If you entered the United States legally, but are accruing unlawful presence, you will likely be subject to deportation, but you have not committed any crime under U.S. law (with very rare exceptions).

Unlawful Entry

Unlike merely being present unlawfully, entering the country without inspection is a federal crime, according to 8 U.S.C. §1325. It can be a felony, but is most often characterized as a misdemeanor punishable by fines and/or jail terms of no less than six months (but normally no more than two years).

One might wonder how someone can be unlawfully present in the U.S. and not have entered unlawfully, but it is in reality quite common. Many who find themselves in this position legally obtain visas and then simply fail to leave before the visa’s expiration date. They enter the country legally, with inspection, but as soon as their visa expires, they begin to accrue unlawful presence. In that scenario, the person would be guilty of a civil infraction, but no crime has been committed.

If you entered the United States without inspection, you are guilty of both the civil infraction of unlawful presence, and the crime of unlawful entry. You are subject to deportation, but you may also be subject to fines and a two-year jail sentence.

Get An Immigration Attorney On Your Side

If you need help with a potential immigration violation, or you need guidance on which penalties you may be subject to, having a good immigration attorney on your side can make all the difference. The skilled DuPage County immigration and deportation attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC have years of experience in these cases, and will do our very best to help you with yours. Contact us today.

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