The circumstances and nature of drug charges determines whether there is an impact on immigration status. First, it is important to note that you don’t have to be convicted of a drug crime in order to put your immigration status in danger. An arrest or criminal charges for drug possession can be enough to trigger removal proceedings for individuals who are non-citizens, but who are in the U.S. legally. Even if the individual is never convicted of the alleged drug crime, he or she still could be subject to removal, depending on the situation. For example, if an individual admitted to committing a drug crime as per the requirements of a deferred adjudication, he or she could be subject to removal, even though the individuals never was convicted of a crime at all. The fact is that immigration officials can consider even expunged drug offenses in determining whether an immigrant is removable from the U.S.
In general, a minor drug conviction, such as possession of a small amount of marijuana, is often insufficient to merit removal. In these cases, an immigrant has the legal right to seek cancellation of removal, or relief from deportation. However, if an individual is convicted of a felony under the Texas Controlled Substances Act, he or she is guilty of an “aggravated felony” under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which places that individual at risk of deportation and makes him or her ineligible for cancellation of removal.
Nonetheless, even minor drug charges can derail your plans to become a U.S. citizen or obtain a green card. A simple drug arrest may be enough for immigration officials to deny you access to citizenship or lawful permanent resident status.
Peek & Toland dedicates a large part of its practice to helping both individuals and businesses resolve their immigration-related issues. Immigration law is a complex, ever-changing area of the law that necessitates legal advice from experienced immigration lawyers who keep up-to-date with all relevant changes in law and policy. We will work with you to achieve the most positive outcome possible in your situation. Call our office today and set up a consultation with our skilled immigration attorneys today.