Immigration and Criminal Record Sealing (Expungement)
The Danger of Being an Immigrant with a Criminal Record
An immigrant in the U.S. is faced with many challenges, but this is especially true if the immigrant is charged with a crime.
Arrest and conviction records negatively impact your ability to obtain jobs, housing, eligibility for financing/loans. This is true for anyone charged with a crime, but for immigrants, it can be very dangerous – leading to immigration detention, deportation and even banishment from the U.S., permanently.
Old criminal charges that were dropped and minor arrests that do not lead to conviction can also adversely affect your status and limit your opportunities.
Because of this, many people seek to have their criminal record expunged, or their record sealed, which means that they will not be available for public viewing or basic background checks.
However, if you are an immigrant, there is a danger of having your record sealed or expunged, depending on your immigration status.
Pennsylvania’s Clean Slate Law
Because of the new Pennsylvania law (known as Clean Slate), your criminal charges may be expunged automatically. If you are an immigrant, this could cause issues. If you are not able to obtain a copy of the original arrest report for an immigration judge or immigration officials (ICE), you could face challenges in proving your case.
Please see the Pennsylvania Expungement Summary for more information on which crimes are eligible for automatic record sealing and which crimes need a petition for expungement.
The best way to ensure you have the proper documentation from your arrest while getting the charges off your public record, is to contact an experienced Pennsylvania Immigration Lawyer and Criminal Attorney, like Attorney Saadzoi.
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A Clean Criminal Record for Immigrants
If you are an immigrant (documented or undocumented), a green card holder, or have a pending immigration status and have been charged with a crime in the past, you may be wondering how you can get your criminal charges off your public record.
While expungement and record sealing have benefits for U.S. Citizens, this may not always be the case if you are an immigrant, depending on your status.
For starters, even under the new Pennsylvania Clean Slate Law, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will still be able to see your criminal history, regardless of whether you were found guilty or the charges were dropped.
Expunged convictions still count as convictions on ICE records.
In addition, sealing your records may make it impossible for you to retrieve documents needed by ICE, and that could negatively impact your status, triggering the removal process.
Expungement and record sealing may actually complicate your immigration status, if the process is implemented incorrectly.
It still may be possible to expunge your record to help better your chances of gaining employment, housing, etc. and may well be worth the effort.
However, it is important to not only hire an immigration lawyer who knows what they are doing, but also cares about your immigration status and wants to help you remain in the U.S.
Please see the Pennsylvania Expungement Summary for more information.
How Can an Immigration Attorney Help?
As an experienced criminal lawyer and immigration attorney in Pennsylvania, Attorney Saadzoi understands the damage a criminal charge or conviction can have on your immigration status.
If a past criminal charge is threatening your U.S. residency or if you face criminal charges as an immigrant, please contact Pennsylvania Immigration Attorney Wana Saadzoi for legal assistance.
She can assist you with any bond, deportation or removal hearings in Pennsylvania you or your family may be facing.
The Law Offices of Wana Saadzoi, Esquire LLC can help you navigate the legal system to reach a positive outcome for you or your family. It is very important to remember that you are entitled to legal representation, even if you are not a U.S. citizen or do not have documentation.
Call Wana Saadzoi today at 610-566-5956 for experienced legal help. Attorney Saadzoi is both aggressive in her fight for you and compassionate to your situation. She will work hard to build a strong, favorable case for you.
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