It is not uncommon that I receive a call from a long time Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) who travels abroad for vacation or business who, to his/her surprise, is detained by Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
When CBP detains an LPR, instead of admitting her and letting her into the country, it is usually because they have concerns regarding the “admissibility” of that LPR. Concerns regarding admissibility are usually triggered by some criminal violation of the LPR—no matter how far in the past!
Any time an LPR comes in and out of the country, that LPR is asking for “admission” and needs to be admissible under section 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. If you committed a crime that could render you inadmissible to the country, and CBP happens to notice about that crime (yes they have not notice, they might have not noticed the past 10 times you traveled abroad) then they could deny admission.
Generally CBP faced with this situations, will do one of two things: (1) if they are unsure as to whether or not your criminal incident renders your inadmissible, they will tell you come back and give you an I-546 form which is an Order to Appear again at a CBP office with copies of your conviction records. (2) If they think more conclusively that you are inadmissible (or deportable), then CBP will give you a document called Notice to Appear (Form I-862). That document will order you to go in front of an immigration judge for him/her to decide whether you should be admitted or deported from the United States. At this point you are in what is called technically “Removal Proceedings”. The government is trying to remove you.
If you are facing either one of these scenarios, it is extremely important that you contact an immigration attorney for an evaluation of your criminal records. An immigration attorney can also tell you what are your options assuming your record does render you removable from the US. You might qualify from relief from removal depending on your circumstances. If you are not in this situation yet, but have criminal record (no matter how far in the past) and plan to travel abroad, it is also important that you call an attorney so he can assess whether or not you will potentially have troubles coming back to the US. Criminal convictions for LPR’s are a time bomb that could potentially get you in a lot of trouble coming back to the US.
For questions about this call our firm at 305-699-7848 for a telephonic evaluation of our case.