Juvenile Criminal Records and Immigration Benefits
Assuming you have a juvenile criminal record, who cares right? Wrong, especially if you are applying for a green card or U. S. visa. The USCIS checks juvenile criminal records but there is an exception where such records are sealed.
Why? The protection of U. S. National Security
The USCIS has the mandate of protecting the U. S. borders and ensuring the integrity of the U. S. immigration process. The agency does extensive security checks on each and every person seeking an immigration benefit or service. This is so as to screen people who may be seeking such immigration benefits fraudulently or who seek to get into the U. S. so as to fulfil improper or violence purposes. In this respect the USCIS works very closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other agencies so as to carry out such security checks. Depending on one’s level of application, there will be different levels of scrutiny in respect of security checks for that individual. For example, a person applying for permanent residence in the U. S. is likely to require a comprehensive security check as compared to a person who is applying for a non-immigrant visa. However, any person whose security check uncovers anything suspicious will be subject to further in depth scrutiny and subject to possible investigation.
In respect of juvenile convictions that are handled in the U. S. Criminal Court system, it must be noted that some juvenile hearings do not result in a criminal conviction. However, a record may be made of a juvenile hearing even if there is no conviction; but as long as an individual is not convicted there is no criminal record.
At times a young person’s offense can result in their being convicted as an adult, this is due to the seriousness or gravity of the offense. In such cases there will be a criminal record of conviction.
However, the individual may be allowed to have their criminal record expunged after a number of years if he or she does not commit any other offense.
The USCIS will look back five years when considering an immigration application, this is most likely because a juvenile criminal record remains on an individual’s record for five years even after the individual turns eighteen. The USCIS will not consider the juvenile criminal record beyond five years unless there was another crime committed.
If a juvenile is in removal proceedings while under eighteen or within the five year period of the offense the juvenile may be excused by the USCIS because juveniles do not have the same moral compass and restraint expected of adults.
There is also an exception extended by the USCIS in respect of petty offenses. A petty offense is a legal term for minor offenses or crimes these will not solely or on their own have a negative impact on an application for immigration benefits.
If you are a juvenile and are under removal or deportation proceedings in the Cleveland Immigration Court, seek out a law firm of renowned professionals to assist you with your case and represent your interests.