Interviewer: What’s the most important reason that, again, someone reading this would care about that? Let me point out the most important facts:
- Among the substantive immigration laws that a criminal defense attorney may want to think about is the status of their client. Again, we briefly spoke about it. Are they a U.S. citizen? Are they a green card holder? Are they out of status or are they undocumented?
- Why is that important to the criminal defense attorney? Well, the obvious answer is if the client is a U.S. citizen, they don’t have to worry about the immigration consequences. If they’re a green card holder, they still have to worry, but to a lesser extent than somebody’s who’s undocumented.
- Another important area is whether or not their client is what we call either inadmissible or deportable. Without getting too technical, there is a very different set of ground rules for someone who’s deportable versus somebody who is inadmissible. Somebody could actually be in the country and still be considered inadmissible and somebody could have actually left the country and be considered deportable. So it’s something that they probably should speak to an immigration attorney about.
- There is also moral character, which can have an effect on a non-citizen becoming a citizen someday. So who’s subject to deportation? It’s those citizens who have been admitted. What does that mean? They have been officially inspected at JFK or some other airport. Those undocumented immigrants who came without being admitted, they’re subject to the grounds of inadmissibility. Again, there are different grounds for inadmissibility and there are different grounds for deportability.
So even if you’ve been in the United States for years and you’ve never left, you may be inadmissible, which provides a different schematic that the crimmigration attorney has to work from.