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Criminal Convictions and Immigration

Any criminal arrest or conviction needs to be carefully reviewed by an experienced immigration attorney.​  


Even before President Trump, immigration laws were very hard on immigrants who have any criminal history.  If you are applying for citizenship an arrest, even without a conviction can lead to a denial of your citizenship application.  How can this be?  Under the law, a permanent resident must show that he or she is  a person of good moral character.  See  8 U.S.C. 1427.  An arrest can lead USCIS to conclude that you are not a person who follows the law, and thus not a person of good moral character.  

Permanent Residence

Immigrants convicted of certain crimes can be denied their residency ("green cards") due to the conviction of certain offenses.  Crimes involving moral turpitude ("CIMT"), aggravated felonies (which are not always felonies) most drug offenses are the most commonly seen issues.

If you are applying for residence before USCIS or an immigration judge and you were arrested, expect to be asked questions about that arrest.  If you were convicted you may nor may not need to file a waiver - this is dependent upon whether the conviction fits the definition of these grounds of inadmissibility.


CASE SUCCESS: As an example, I represented an individual who was convicted of burglary.  At the time the crime was committed,  the man ()who was 18 at the time) broke into a warehouse to have some beers with his friends. 


While burglary sounds like a CIMT, I was able to explain to immigration that burglary is not automatically a CIMT - that the adjudicator or court would have to look at what activity the person was doing once they entered the premise - in this case criminal trespass.  

This type of analysis is necessary to determine whether a waiver is available, and if so, if it is even needed.

Make sure you speak to an experienced lawyer if you have any criminal history (even if it was dismissed, expunged, etc).

Contact us to speak to someone about  your situation.  (201) 448-9837

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Contact Us



201 448-9837

Law Office of Michael Campise

2125 Center Ave #314

Fort Lee, NJ 07024


Practice highlights

  • Represented Major League Baseball Players, Music Artists, and International Executives

  • Over ten years experience

  • Member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association

  • Handled thousands of immigration cases over the last ten years

  • Successfully sued the government in the Federal Courts

  • Fought for worker's rights and secured settlements for 

  • Licensed Real Estate Broker (NY)

Areas of Practice

Immigration Law

Residential Real Estate​

Criminal Law​

DCP&P (DYFS) Investigations and representation

Bankruptcy/Debtor's Rights

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