While the subject of post conviction relief applications often arises within the context of whether an attorney should have advised a criminal defendant of the potential immigration consequences of a plea, most of the case law seems to center around deportability: that is, whether someone who is already physically present in the United States and in many cases, lawfully admitted, may be removed from the US on account of the plea to the criminal charge. What is rarely discussed but arguably equally important is the issue of admissibility. The issue of admissibility may arise in a number of contexts including when someone physically present in the United States is applying for permanent residence as well as when Lawful Permanent Residents travel abroad and technically make an application for admission when they return. Foreign Born criminal defendants who are not United States Citizens should bear in mind that deportability and admissibility are not necessarily coterminous, and that while a certain plea may not necessarily render one deportable, it doesn’t necessarily insulate one from admissibility issues. Equal consideration should be given to both, even if criminal defense attorneys are only aware of the deportability ramifications.
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