“Crimmigration” is a term that has emerged in recent years to describe the increasingly intertwined areas of criminal law and immigration law. This blend of legal concerns has become more pronounced as the legal and policy landscapes in both fields have evolved, particularly in the United States.
Understanding crimmigration requires examining how criminal offenses and immigration status influence each other, impacting individuals who are navigating these complex legal systems at the same time.
The intersections of criminal and immigration law
Crimmigration is, essentially, where criminal law meets immigration law. Traditionally, these were two distinct areas of law, with different courts, procedures and legal standards. However, over time, the consequences of alleged or actual criminal activity have increasingly resulted in significant implications for immigration status and vice versa. This intersection has, basically, created a specialized area of law that requires a genuine understanding of both fields and how they impact one another.
Crimmigration primarily affects non-citizens, including permanent residents (green card holders), temporary visa holders, refugees, asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants. In many instances, involvement in the criminal justice system can lead to immigration consequences, such as deportation, denial of re-entry or disqualification from obtaining legal status or citizenship.
Not all criminal offenses have the same impact on immigration status. Crimes that are considered to be “aggravated felonies” or “crimes of moral turpitude” under U.S. immigration law, for instance, can result in serious consequences, including deportation, while minor infractions may not impact an individual’s immigration prospects.
Understanding and navigating this intersection is important for non-citizens who find themselves at the crossroads of these two critical areas of law. Seeking legal guidance in this regard is always an option when related questions and concerns arise.