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November 02, 2006

CRS Report on the Immigration Consequences of Criminal Activity

Over the past year, as Congress has debated various approaches to immigration reform, all of the major bills considered – including both S. 2611 and H.R. 4437, as well as the more recent Community Protection Act (H.R. 6094) – have included provisions that would expand the consequences of criminal activity for noncitizens. The Congressional Research Service recently updated its report on “Immigration Consequences of Criminal Activity” to include analysis of these recent legislative developments, along with an overview of the categories of criminal activity applicable to noncitizens and the effect of a conviction for such crimes upon a noncitizen’s immigration status.

The CRS report outlines three broad categories of crimes which may have immigration consequences for noncitizens - crimes involving moral turpitude, aggravated felonies, and crimes affecting assessment of good moral character – and then reviews the ways in which each class of crimes can affect admissibility, discretionary relief, naturalization, and removal. The report emphasizes that illegal entry itself is not a crime, and states that “the term ‘illegal alien’ – an alien without legal status – is not synonymous with ‘criminal alien.’”

The report concludes with a brief list of provisions in S. 2611 and H.R.4437 that would expand the criminal grounds for inadmissibility, deportation, and denial of discretionary relief. This list provides a useful comparison of the two bills and a succinct catalogue of the some of the harshest immigration provisions passed by members of Congress in the past year.

Posted by VisaLawyer at November 2, 2006 06:59 AM

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