Interviewer: A lot of times, people would go and maybe rob someone’s house and then go on and try to sell it at a flea market or something like that. The next thing is that person’s tracked them down and that person’s been arrested for it, for something that they’ve purchased that was considerably a hot item. Could that also be a possibility as well?
Brian Geno: Yes, definitely. That crime would be considered grand larceny and that one is one that would get you deported. I mean the government has limited resources, so they can’t go after everyone. So, they go after criminals first because those are the most undesirable according to the Federal Government. And so, they use their resources to bring people to court who are in the jails, that’s the big one, and then people who wind up in the jail just for a little bit. That’s another group.
An Illegal Immigrant Who is Not Engaged in Criminal Activity is Not Considered a High Value Target for the Federal Government
The person who’s illegal, who’s never done anything wrong really but the government finds out who they are, it might be that they just come across that person’s name or something. The government could but probably wouldn’t use its resources on that person because that person just isn’t a high value target to the Federal Government. But once you have committed something, any kind of thing especially the more serious crimes that puts you in jail, you’re deportable. So, anything like cocaine, anything like grand larceny, any kind of other illegal drug that’s what they call a schedule II, that is drugs that have no medicinal value, they’re just for recreational drug use; all of those would make a person a very attractive target to the Federal Government.
The Impact of a DWI on an Immigrant in the United States Immigration Process
Interviewer: What about like DUIs that involve aggravation, have you seen cases like that?
Brian Geno: DWI, by itself, is not a crime that would cause you to get deported. So, it’s not an aggravated felony, it’s not a crime involving moral turpitude and it’s not one that would cause you to lose your good moral standing typically, okay. If you do it within 5 years of being admitted into this country or you have TPS, and that’s one of your two crimes, then yes, it could be a problem for you. But DWI itself is not one of those that they consider more serious, but if that person with DWI winds up in jail, okay, he’s just like in the same situation as other crimes that are of interest to them. Maybe not the worse crimes but it’s the wrong question to ask the government, “Do you want this person?” That’s the wrong question to ask if you’re talking about a person who just committed a DWI, his life is on the line and someone else has control all because of a DWI.
It is Important to Have Competent Legal Counsel Representing an Immigrant in a DWI Case
So, it is important to get counsel who is going to be aware, that is, to have a lawyer who is aware of all these little things that could happen to an immigrant. A DWI lawyer could be a very fine lawyer and wind up getting a what would otherwise be considered a fine result that included that included some jail time and the person’s deported. Like for example, a DWI gets reduced to reckless driving in exchange for taking a weekend in jail. Now, this reckless driving would typically be considered a decent deal because up to now, ICE knows and ICE exercises its right and ICE does take control of the person and then, he’s gone. Then, the lawyer gets a call from the person’s wife saying, “Where’s my husband? What happened to him and how come he’s not out yet? I thought it was supposed to be a weekend and now, it’s Monday”, and it’s all because ICE took him and the defense attorney didn’t know. And the person could be a 19-year old son of a good family, he could be a high school graduate, he could be a parent, he could be a single parent and it wouldn’t matter.