Uncovering a Legal Citizen Status Often Helps Individuals Facing Criminal Charges

Jeanne: More often, this situation arises when a family member is attempted to help out another family member who thought that they were an illegal immigrant. This individual may be facing a DWI or has spent 72 hours in jail for a bar fight. He may have even committed some serious offenses that I can’t ever rectify.

US Citizens Are Not Subject to Immigration Laws

However, you’re only subject to immigration laws if you’re an alien. Whether you’re being prosecuted for illegal entry, or you want to stay in the United States but you have a bad rap sheet, if I can prove you’re a US citizen, the immigration laws have no effect on you. This scenario actually occurs quite often.

Interviewer: Let’s cover this topic. People may not know that crimes committed by US citizens are treated in radically different ways than crimes committed by noncitizens, is that right?

Permanent Residents Convicted of Criminal Offenses Face Both Punitive Measures and Deportation

Jeanne: If you do the crime, you’re going to do the time, but we don’t deport US citizens.

Think of the people you know, such as your neighbor or your brother or the butcher. If they’ve done something wrong, and they go into in the criminal justice system – we’re not talking about immigration; but the criminal justice system – and they go to jail, when they’ve done their time, they get out.

We don’t deport them. If you’re an alien, whether you’re an illegal alien or a legal permanent resident who’s been here 50 years, in one case, once he got out of jail, they deported him.

We’ve had clients deported who have lived all their lives in the United States. They don’t even speak Spanish. They got deported because they committed and were convicted of a crime. I’m not excusing the crime at all, but if they had been a US citizen, then once they did the time, they are released into society. They will not be deported. We don’t deport US citizens. That’s the power of it.