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The South Bay has a large population of immigrants from all over the world. Some are here without documentation, and many have visas, both temporary and permanent

It is important to be aware that under the current administration the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have started an aggressive policy to seek out, detain and remove “aliens” with any kind of criminal history.

In the event you have suffered a conviction in the past that can be a real problem. This can be true even if you’ve been living in the U.S. for years and are a “permanent resident.” If you travel outside the country, or are up for renewal of your “green card,” you could be detained by the authorities and be placed in deportation proceedings for certain crimes.

Examples of crimes that can be a serious problem are “petty theft” or “shoplifting,” “domestic violence,” “child endangerment,” almost any type of drug/narcotic charges, and most felony matters.

If you have suffered convictions for any of these crimes, no matter how long ago, they can be used against you. However, it is possible to clear or modify your record in such a way as to minimize or even eliminate the harmful immigration effects of your past conviction.

In many cases it is possible to file what is called a “motion to vacate the judgment of conviction.” It is not a simple process, and the court can deny the request, but in many cases it is your only remedy. However, in the event adequate grounds exist and it is “granted” by the court it can be a lifesaver.

My office has had much success in filing such motions. You don’t have to be in immigration proceedings to seek this relief. In the event you are planning to leave the country, are due to renew your green card, are changing your legal status or simply wish to take steps now to avoid immigration issues in the future, don’t hesitate to contact my office at your earliest convenience for a free initial consultation.