Q & A May 1, 2005
Q & A 1. 2.
Apply for Naturalization with Two Crimes?
Mr. Nian reader asks:
I live in the US and have green card for 7 years. I’m thinking
to apply for naturalization. However, 7 years ago, I committed larceny
crimes twice. The first time, the court released me without incarceration
because it was my first offense. Within 4 months, I committed the
same crime again and was jailed for 2 days. Questions:
1. Will immigration check my past criminal history?
2. Will my past criminal records be cleared if I did not commit
any crime in 5 years?
3. Is it proper to report in the naturalization form only the second
crime in which I was jailed for 2 days and omitting the first one
in which I was not jailed?
4. Will immigration revoke my green card?
5. What should I do to obtain my naturalization?
Mr. Lee Answers:
1 An N-400 naturalization form asks for all information concerning
past arrests and convictions. The U.S.C.I.S. as a matter of course
conducts security clearances on all naturalization applications
prior to interview and will most likely come up with your records
of arrest and conviction.
2 Whether a state law allows minor crimes to be cleared after a
certain number of years has no effect upon the U.S.C.I.S. demand
that all arrests and convictions be put down on the N-400 application
even if they have been expunged.
3 No. The U.S.C.I.S. requires that you report all arrests and convictions
and not just the second. Kindly note that if you were fingerprinted
in connection with your first arrest, that arrest will most likely
come up on the records checks of the U.S.C.I.S.
4 Under the immigration laws, an individual who has been convicted
of two crimes involving moral turpitude (which includes larceny)
which did not arise from a single scheme of criminal misconduct,
regardless of whether or not imprisoned, is removable from the U.S.
You may, however, be able to defend your permanent residence card
by requesting a waiver of removal before an immigration court if
you have qualifying relatives in the U.S. and are able to prove
that it would cause exceptional hardship to them if you are forced
to leave the U.S..
5 In your situation and given the present state of the law, it
is difficult to recommend that you apply for citizenship. You should
also be aware that you may encounter difficulty re-entering the
country if you take a trip outside the U.S. as the Department of
Homeland Security has greatly enhanced the ability of its immigration
inspectors to look at the criminal records of all arrivals to this
Liability of V-Petitioner Where Divorces & Ex-husband Enters
Ms. Meng Reader asks:
I applied for my husband who lived in China for a green card. Due
to the waiting time was long, I later applied a V-visa for him.
However, while the case was pending in Guangzhou consulate and he
was waiting for V-visa, we got divorced. Prior divorcing him, I
wrote a letter to NVC informing my intention of canceling this case
and provided with the receipt number. After divorcing, I was told
my ex-husband has come to the U.S. through my V-visa application.
I checked online using the receipt number and found the same case
status as before. Questions:
1. Did it mean my case was never cancelled? How should I cancel
2. Do I have any responsibility for my ex-husband that now he is
here in the U.S?
3. We have been divorced less than 2 years. I am now a US citizen.
If I get married again, can I apply for current husband?
Mr. Lee Answers:
1 If the divorce is finalized prior to the ex-husband's entry to
the U.S. under the V-1 visa, his entry was unlawful. If that is
the case, your petition for him was obviously not cancelled on time
if it was cancelled at all. To cancel your petition, I suggest you
put down all information concerning the circumstances along with
identifying numbers of the case and a copy of your divorce paper
and mail certified copies to the U.S.C.I.S. office that approved
2 In the fact situation that you have given above, you should have
no liability for your ex-husband's presence if the U.S.C.I.S. believes
that you made efforts to apprise the government that you were divorced
and that you asked for the petition to be canceled Nevertheless,
even without taking any steps, it is difficult to see that you have
any liability unless the government proves that you conspired to
allow him to illegally enter the U.S.
3 If you are married again and apply for your husband, questions
may unfortunately arise as to your actions pertaining to your former
spouse. There may be suspicion that you were somehow involved in
an enterprise with him to evade the immigration laws. It may therefore
be a good idea to take steps now which may insulate you from such