Thursday, January 30, 2014

I'll stay... as long as you love me

For singer Justin Bieber, things are getting worse. He turned himself in to authorities in Toronto, Canada, this week on charges of assaulting a limousine driver. And over 100,000 people have signed a petition to the White House, asking that Bieber be deported. How could these two events impact Justin's future immigration status in the United States?

Don't make him fade away.
Photo used under Creative Commons license from @ilovejb123 on Flickr.

If it turns out that Justin is convicted of crimes in any country, and he decides to apply for a green card, he will have to explain his criminal record. Applicants for certain types of immigration benefits, such as asylum or a green card, must disclose any prior criminal convictions. This is true whether the crime occurred in the U.S. or in any other country. If a person doesn't disclose his or her criminal record, it is likely that the government may still find out. Prior criminal convictions won't necessarily prevent someone from getting approved for immigration benefits, but it is important to talk with an attorney before applying to be aware of any risks. The list of crimes that can impact someone's immigration status is very complicated, and an experienced attorney can help determine whether someone's record will cause problems.

Could the White House petition result in Justin's deportation? It's very unlikely, because Justin's crimes likely aren't serious enough to qualify him for deportation. He also has many fans in the U.S. who would like him to stay! Having broad support from your community can be important in certain immigration settings. Under certain circumstances, the law allows the government to exercise discretion, and decide whether a person should be allowed to stay in the United States despite some mishap. Again, it is important to talk to an attorney before requesting prosecutorial discretion. An attorney can help you figure out whether your circumstances would qualify you to apply, and whether you would have a good chance of success.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

"Never Say Never"... to Justin Bieber's deportation?

Celebrities such as Lindsay Lohan, Nicolas Cage, and Paris Hilton often make the news when they get on the wrong side of the law. But the recent arrest of Justin Bieber, on allegations of drag racing and driving under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, and prescription drugs, could lead to more serious consequences than just a fine or jail time.

... Except the Miami Beach PD, that is.
Photo used under Creative Commons license from @jiposhy on Flickr.

Bieber is Canadian, and does not hold U.S. citizenship. He is currently in the U.S. on a temporary visa, based on his extraordinary musical abilities. However, because Justin hasn't been formally charged yet, it is unclear whether the offenses would impact his immigration status. Non-citizens in the U.S., such as Bieber, may face deportation or become ineligible for certain types of immigration relief after being convicted of certain crimes. These crimes are formally named "aggravated felonies" or "crimes of moral turpitude" in the law. Although those titles sound serious, some relatively commonplace acts can result in criminal convictions under those categories.

For more news about Justin Bieber's arrest, read this CNN article.

If you are interested in applying for immigration status based on extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics (an O visa), Glickman Turley may be able to help you. Even if you aren't a musical sensation, if you are an immigrant facing criminal charges, or if you are an immigrant who already has a criminal record, then it is important for you to talk to an attorney about your immigration status. Contact us today to see how we may be able to help.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Is Boehner getting serious about immigration reform?

While we can only speculate whether immigration reform was one of House Speaker John Boehner’s New Year’s resolutions, there are some signs that he is moving in that direction.  At the end of 2013, Boehner hired Rebecca Tallent, the former adviser to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on immigration and a supporter of broad immigration reform.  Ms. Tallent fought for comprehensive overhauls of the immigration system in 2003 and 2007, albeit unsuccessfully.  She knows the landscape and will likely be able to get things moving.

Boehner has said that he is committed to a “step by step” approach to immigration reform, rather than one big comprehensive bill.  “The American people are skeptical of big, comprehensive bills, and frankly, they should be,” Mr. Boehner told reporters recently. “The only way to make sure immigration reform works this time is to address these complicated issues one step at a time. I think doing so will give the American people confidence that we’re dealing with these issues in a thoughtful way and a deliberative way.”

Mr. Boehner recently criticized the Tea Party opposition during the recent budget deal in Congress which further suggests that he is serious about overhauling the immigration system despite vehement opposition from conservative Republicans.  More moderate House Republicans see immigration reform as essential to gaining the Hispanic vote in the 2016 presidential election. Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee for president in 2012, took a hard line on immigration and won only 27 percent of the Hispanic vote.

For more on this subject, see this recent New York Times article.