Immigration Consequences of Criminal Convictions
Rahul Manchanda speaks to us below about US immigration law. With different states having different laws, he reveals the complications that arise, especially for those who may be convicted or accused of a crime whilst residing in the US.
What are common complexities in US immigration law? What is the best way around such complexities?
With the advent of a more conservative administration pertaining to immigration and customs enforcement, not to mention the clamping down on de novo immigration petitions for both work and family, as well as asylum, the greatest challenge nowadays is to communicate with businesses and individual clients that any and all immigration packages must be carefully and thoroughly prepared and backed up by solid evidence; it is now more important than ever to have a skilled, experienced, established, and decades old law firm such as ours, with a proven track record of success and ingenuity, to prepare and process your claims, rather than using newer or lesser law firms where cost is the only factor.
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) was enacted in 1952.
What are the criminal grounds for deportation? Are there any Acts which protect immigrants in such an instance?
Since criminal law is a state-by-state matter, with some jurisdictions handling/processing the same or similar criminal matters differently, a huge challenge in the federal immigration adjudication process has historically been how to treat said criminal cases in a streamlined, predictable, cogent and uniform manner. Indeed recent case law in the federal courts have grappled with vague terms such as “crime of moral turpitude” or “aggravated felony” and have lambasted the immigration courts, judges, Immigration Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), and the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) for such arbitrary, capricious, vague and biased decisions tending to either favour, or disfavour, certain applicants/litigants with unbearably difficult or complex legal decisions or reasoning which tend to defy belief. Unfortunately, activist judges, law clerks, law enforcement, or examiners (either pro or anti-immigration) have been able to inject their own personalities and feelings into cases and matters, which defeats the whole idea of a legal based, neutral immigration system. The major bodies of law governing the US Federal Immigration System are the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”) for US case adjudication, and the Foreign Affairs Manual (“FAM”) for US Consulates/Embassies overseas.
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) was enacted in 1952. The INA collected many provisions and reorganized the structure of immigration law. The INA has been amended many times over the years and contains many of the most important provisions of immigration law. The INA is contained in the United States Code (U.S.C.). The US Code is a collection of all the laws of the United States. Title 8 of the U.S. Code covers “Aliens and Nationality.”
The challenge in any federal legal system comprised of sub-states having their own bodies of law, whether it is criminal, family, or contract, is the uniform applicability of the laws.
Can immigrants be deported if married to a US citizen, or if they hold their own green card?
Yes, immigrants can still be deported if married to a US Citizen or if they hold a green card, if any issues pertaining to fraud or criminal activity triggering removal proceedings occur. However, it is much more difficult to deport someone if they are married to a US Citizen, have immediate family members using a hardship waiver, if they have been in the USA for 10 years or more using cancellation of removal, or otherwise lack a criminal record. Additionally, many defences to deportation do exist, usually centering on the above issues or if they pursue citizenship.
What are common criminal Immigration issues you come across?
The gamut runs from allegations of immigration fraud, criminal acts/convictions, drugs trafficking and use, domestic violence, visa overstays, violations of immigration status, “moral turpitude,” illegal weapons trafficking/possession, crimes of violence, and other acts.
From the above, do you think that there ought to be regulatory changes, which would benefit your clients?
As was stated above, the challenge in any federal legal system comprised of sub-states having their own bodies of law, whether it is criminal, family, or contract, is the uniform applicability of the laws. Occasionally the federal courts will entertain and adjudicate multi-state or vague state laws triggering deportation/removal proceedings, but these are relatively few and far between, and the only difference between winning your case/successfully defending against deportation/removal proceedings is a good, solid, experienced, creative and ingenious immigration lawyer. In the past nearly 20 years of immigration/deportation defense law, I have rarely found a case that could not be successfully defended, depending on if the accused has the time, patience, grit, and wherewithal to weather the storm, bite the bullet, dig in their heels and fight back against federal deportation proceedings. The immigration laws, like the Internal Revenue Code, is an enormously complicated, detailed, and exceptions-rife body of federal law, and many defences exist that are not easily discoverable or knowable to an average immigration law practitioner. To that end, it is vital to both consult with and retain an experienced immigration deportation defense trial lawyer, rather than someone who simply slaps forms together and mails it off to the immigration service. Anyone can do that, and not even having to be an immigration lawyer.
Many case outcomes are the result of negotiation, plea agreements and appeals, so it is important to consult with a lawyer who has a big basket of litigation techniques
Since I have spent decades in the immigration and federal courts, doing countless trials, litigating, preparing, filing pleadings, appearing in countless court hearings, hammering out issues with opposing DHS Prosecutors, US Attorneys, District Attorneys, and Criminal/Family/Immigration Judges all around the country, I feel very confident that there are very few cases where we can not present a cogent and solid defense. Many case outcomes are the result of negotiation, plea agreements and appeals, so it is important to consult with a lawyer who has a big basket of litigation techniques and negotiating skills, such as our law firm, the Manchanda Law Office PLLC.
Rahul Manchanda, Esq
Owner of the Manchanda Law Office PLLC
30 Wall Street, 8th Floor, New York NY 10005
Professor, Author, and Attorney Rahul Manchanda worked for one of the largest law firms in Manhattan where he focused on asbestos litigation. At the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (“UNCITRAL”) in Vienna, Austria, Mr. Manchanda was exposed to international trade law, arbitration, alternative dispute resolution, and comparisons of the American common law with European civil law. He later worked for one of the largest multi-national law firms in Paris France, Coudert Frères, where he focused primarily on international arbitration, arbitration agreements, the enforcement of foreign arbitration awards against multinational parent corporations, piercing the corporate veil, arbitration venue choice, and foreign policy. In Paris, Mr. Manchanda analyzed and compared the American legal system with its British, French, Russian, German, and Chinese counterparts. Mr. Manchanda also has extensive technical experience in Federal Patent Prosecution and Intellectual Property issues working for Milde Hoffberg & Macklin LLP and Moses & Singer LLP, and has contributed to the issuing of patents in the areas of biotechnology, organic chemistry, biopharmaceuticals, electrical and mechanical engineering, computer software and technology, and internet business methods. He was recently the Keynote Address Speaker for Hamline University School of International Law on the 60th Anniversary of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, as well as a Chief Speaker for the Civil Rights Litigation Update Seminar on Balancing Inalienable Civil Rights and National Security in the Post-911 Era. Professor Manchanda is also a Faculty Member for LawLine.com, an online Continuing Legal Education (“CLE”) program designed to educate Attorneys all across the country on cutting edge issues of Immigration Law and Deportation and Removal Defense Litigation as well as a second CLE on the Foundations of International Law, as well as 5 different Immigration Law/Deportation Defense Seminars for Rossdale CLE. Click here to watch a portion of his 2 hour lecture on Immigration and Deportation and Removal Defense Litigation or The Foundations of International Law. You can also watch some of his many appearances on FoxNews, CNN, CourtTV, NBC, and other major media networks on some of the most notable cases in global history, here. He has also given multiple lectures as one of the first pioneering immigration law practitioners who merged Criminal Defense Law and Immigration/Deportation Defense Law in such lectures with other immigration law luminaries in LexisNexis Presents a Complimentary Webinar: Criminal Law and Immigration Intersection 101 and Immigration Reform and the Workplace: An Overview of Legal and Legislative Developments.