Interviewer: What’s the differed disposition again?
Brian Geno: A differed disposition would be when the court takes a person’s crime and allows them to not be found guilty of it right away but to do certain things like community service or take some classes or stay out of trouble. And if they do all those things, at the end of that differed period, the court would dismiss the charges. Well, that differed disposition is not a dismissal under immigration law; it is a conviction. That catches people a lot of times. They think it was dismissed and then, later on, they find out whoops! It was not a dismissal and they still have the same problem they had all alone.
A Juvenile Offense is Not Considered a Conviction for Immigration Purposes
Interviewer: Is that the same for juveniles?
Brian Geno: For juveniles, if it’s a juvenile offense, it is not considered a conviction no matter whether it was a plea or a deal or whatever. If they were juvenile and this all happened, then it is not considered negatively for immigration purposes.
The Process of Deportation of an Immigrant in the State of Virginia
Interviewer: What is deportation? How does that work? What does that mean?
Brian Geno: Well, a deportation means that a person is — an alien is in the country and they could either be a resident or they could be illegal, either one, doesn’t matter. They could even have a legal status but not be a resident; they could have like temporary status here and the government throws them out of the country by using a legal process. That is deportation. You can even be deported without actually leaving the country because the court enters an order that says you must go.
An Immigrant who Has been Ordered Deported Yet Continues to Stay is Treated like a Wanted Fugitive by the Authorities
So, if you are ordered deported and you don’t yourself go, anytime you get stopped by any police officer or immigration authority in the future, they will see that deportation just like if you’d been a wanted fugitive and you will be thrown out of the country. The process of deportation can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to six months. And during that time, the government has the authority, if they want to, to keep you in jail. So, it really does seem to defy a person’s rights if they were American but since they’re illegal here, those rights don’t exist.
A Conviction for Any Crime, Big or Small Can be Labeled as Loss of Good Moral Character
Interviewer: How does one lose the label of good moral character?
Brian Geno: If you get convicted of crimes, if you get convicted of small ones and big ones. Now, some crimes like trespassing wouldn’t make a whole lot of difference because it’s not one of the enumerated crimes in the immigration law. However, if you get convicted of it, it’s just one more thing that might play in later on but the actual quality of good moral character under the immigration code would include all kinds of offenses that are — there’s a whole bunch of them and they’re defined in the cases but they could include things like gambling, they could include things like defrauding someone for an amount in excess of $5,000.
Once Good Moral Character is Lost, it Takes Five Years to Get that Back
It could include not paying your child support when it’s due if you have child support and you don’t pay it. It can include all kinds of theft charges even if they’re small. So, if a person tried to jump the turnstile at a train station, it’s $2, that’s a theft charge and can get them in trouble. Possessing any kind of paraphernalia related to drugs or any kind of drugs can cause a person to lose their status as a good and moral person. Once you lose it, at a minimum, it takes you 5 years to get that back. You have to be crime free for 5 at least to get that back. Otherwise, you know, you wind up begging the court for its mercy, you haven’t earned it, you’re asking for favors.