Our law firm recently worked with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to have them return our client’s alien registration card or “green card” and to have them revoke the Notice to Appear (NTA) which had placed our client erroneously in removal proceedings. Our client was returning from a trip abroad and was detained upon inspection when their system showed incomplete information regarding a past criminal matter that did not result in a conviction.
The whole ordeal began when our client was returning from a short trip abroad. Like many times before, she presented her alien registration card or "green card" to the CBP officer upon disembarking the plane. This time though, she was in for an unpleasant surprise. As the CBP officer reviewed his computerized system, he noticed a "hit" or arrest in our client's background and placed her in secondary inspection. Secondary inspection is a separate, more thorough screening that normally lasts several hours. During this secondary inspection, the CBP officers involved misread the information on their computer, and instead of inquiring further with their legal department, they confiscated our client's green card and issued a Notice to Appear (NTA) which basically placed our client in removal proceedings.
When our client first came to see us she was understandably upset about the entire situation. Upon further review of her case, and close examination of her record, we determined that there were in fact no convictions and therefore the NTA should not have been issued. We contacted CBP and for the next several days corresponded back and forth until the issue was resolved in favor of our client. The NTA was ultimately revoked and our client got her green card back.
On a recent blog we discussed the dangers lawful permanent residents face when traveling abroad when they have previous criminal convictions. We encourage our readers to review that entry as it outlines factors that LPRs should consider before traveling. LPRs that have been arrested in the past but never convicted should travel with a certified copy of the Final Disposition Record. However, it is very important to highlight that the definition of what exactly constitutes a conviction is different for immigration purposes. Thus, a person might not have a conviction for state purposes or even have had the case expunged, and still have a conviction for immigration purposes. We will discuss the immigration definition of what constitutes a conviction on a different post. LPRs that are not sure whether they have a conviction for immigration purposes are urged not to travel until they have an experienced immigration attorney review their record.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE RESULTS OF PAST CASES DEPEND ON A VARIETY OF FACTORS UNIQUE TO EACH CASE. PAST CASE RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT A SIMILAR RESULT IN FUTURE CASES.