A Cautionary Tale

old criminal convictions can come back to haunt citizenship applicants

A story from the Philippine Daily Inquirer illustrates the importance of warning students about prior convictions. If the FBI fingerprint comes up with a criminal conviction, the student could end up being deported instead of becoming a citizen. (And it doesn't matter if the student has already served the sentence, or he was a juvenile at the time, or "it was a long time ago," or it was "only a minor offense"...)

"...In his desire to become a US citizen, Roddy applied for naturalization at the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). He had asked for a day’s leave from work and appeared at his naturalization interview. He anticipated a favorable ruling on his application. He never expected to be taken into custody by agents of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

What happened was that the USCIS officer found out about Roddy’s criminal convictions for drug offenses ten years ago. Despite having served his sentence, US immigration law provides “mandatory detention” for immigrants with certain drug convictions and other aggravated felonies.

Roddy appeared before an immigration judge, seeking leniency and compassion. But he was told that the law was clear about his case: He was to be deported."

See the full story here: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/16159/a-past-criminal-record-can-lead-to-deportation