Residents of Camden and other parts of New Jersey may want to learn more about the consequences of a criminal conviction and how it may affect immigration status. Criminal convictions, even for a non-immigrant, carry such issues as preventing employment, social services or housing. However, for immigrants or permanent residents, it may mean deportation even for a low-level offense.
What are some of the non-violent offenses?
According to the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, under immigration law, a non-violent offense may have the label of “aggravated felony.” For immigrants, the following may receive consideration as an aggravated felony:
- Misdemeanor burglary
- Tax fraud of over $10,000
- Possession of narcotics for sale
- Misdemeanor grand theft
Undocumented immigrants often face deportation for an arrest whether they are innocent or guilty. Defendants in these cases should be aware of the strict consequences.
Who does this apply to?
Immigrants may be in for a surprise when they find out that this also applies to foreign employees and visiting students as well as undocumented immigrants. Unlike criminal justice laws that apply to citizens, which focus on high-risk serious and repeat offenders, the laws for immigrants lower the bar.
Seriousness not a consideration
The system for immigration enforcement does not consider how serious the crime is. Studies have shown that the system targets, holds, detains and deports undocumented immigrants without regard for the possibility of their being dangerous.
Following the laws
Many immigrants are law-abiding and contribute to their community. Those who have a say in criminal justice should be aware of the time and resources taken to punish these low-level offenders.
Detaining and deporting is not the best solution. However, immigrants should be aware of the consequences of a crime that is non-violent and does not seem to be “serious.” It may not matter when it comes to immigration law, so it’s important to prepare a defense.