What is a crime involving moral turpitude?

There are two categories of criminal offenses that can affect your immigration status. The first is called a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT). A CIMT sounds complicated, but what it really means is that the person committed a crime that tends to be committed by bad people. CIMT is left undefined in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and is defined in the abstract by immigration authorities. This means that a whether a crime is a CIMT is determined by looking at the elements of the crime alone. If a particular crime has elements that are typically considered to be a CIMT, then the crime will be a CIMT. It is done this way in the statute to try to deal with diverse state criminal laws.

For the purposes of getting a visa to come to the United States, the INA states that anyone who has been convicted of a CIMT or who admits to committing acts that constitute the essential elements of a CIMT is inadmissible. This means that even if you were not caught or convicted, you could be inadmissible if you did something that would have been a CIMT. This section has one exception: if you were under 18 when the CIMT was committed, the end of your time in prison was more than 5 years ago, the crime’s maximum penalty was not more than one year in prison and you did not serve more than six months in prison, then you will still be admissible.

Crimes involving moral turpitude also come up in the context of deportation. If you are convicted of a CIMT while in the US and the sentence you receive for the crime is longer than one year, then you will be deportable if the conviction comes within five years of your most recent admission to the United States. The meaning of the term ‘admission’ is fairly complicated in the INA. It’s meaning will generally only become a problem if you have taken a long trip outside the US since the granting of your green card or other visa.

Like much of the INA, determining what counts as a CIMT can be complicated. This FAQ is only meant to provide a basic outline of these sections. If you are concerned about how these sections may apply to you, you need to discuss it with the immigration law specialists at the Hacking Law Practice, LLC. We have a wealth of experience dealing with immigration authorities to get successful results for our clients. Contact us today at (314) 961-8200 or by filling out our online contact form.

What is an aggravated felony?

There is a second type of crime that can cause you to be deported. This type of crime is known as an aggravated felony. The reason for the distinction between the two types of crimes is to deny certain exceptions or relief from deportation to immigrants who committed really bad crimes while they were in the US. There are a lot of aggravated felonies listed in the INA. These include murder, rape, sexual abuse of a minor, drug/weapon trafficking, and money laundering/fraud in excess of $10,000.

Also included are two umbrella crimes. The first are crimes of violence for which the term of imprisonment is at least one year. A crime of violence is any crime where force is used or threatened against a person or property. It also includes any crimes that involve the substantial risk that physical force may be used during their commission. The second umbrella aggravated felony is a theft offense for which the term of imprisonment is at least one year. This includes crimes like burglary and receiving stolen property, as long as the prison sentence is at least one year.

Like much of the INA, determining what counts as an aggravated felony can be complicated. This FAQ is only meant to provide a basic outline of these sections. If you are concerned about how these sections may apply to you, you need to discuss it with the immigration law specialists at the Hacking Law Practice, LLC. We have a wealth of experience dealing with immigration authorities to get successful results for our clients. Contact us today at (314) 961-8200 or by filling out our online contact form.

Does St. Louis have an immigration court?

Unfortunately, St. Louis does not have an immigration court.  Due to budgetary constraints, the only immigration court in Missouri is located in Kansas City, Missouri.  The Kansas City immigration court, which is known as the Kansas City Executive Office for Immigration Review, is located at 2345 Grand Boulevard, Suite 525, Kansas City, MO 64108.  The Kansas City EOIR currently has two judges – Judge Paula Davis and Judge John O’Malley.  The phone number is 816-581-5000.

For Eastern Missouri and some Southern Illinois immigration cases, if the alien is not currently detained, the case will be set for a master calendar (status) hearing and if the proper timely motion is made, the alien will be allowed to attend master calendar hearings with his/her attorney by telephone.  A physical appearance in Kansas City is still required for all individual merits hearings.  If the alien is currently detained, those cases are still handled by the EOIR in Oakdale, Louisiana.  This means that hearings occur over video conferencing from the Robert A. Young federal building downtown.

If you have questions about your immigration court removal proceedings, please contact St. Louis Immigration Attorney Jim Hacking at (314) 961-8200 or by our Contact Us page here.

What foreign languages do the attorneys at the Hacking Law Practice speak?

Missouri and Illinois immigration attorney Jim Hacking took Russian at St. Louis University High School and at St. Louis University for a total of seven years of Russian study.  Adela Zepcan was born in Bosnia and is fluent in Bosnian.  She also spent a portion of her childhood in German and is conversant in German as well.  Adela regularly translates at office meetings, at immigration and on telephone conference calls.  Mr. Hacking’s wife, Amany Ragab Hacking, is also an attorney and is fluent in Arabic and proficient in French.  Our office has Spanish translators available as well.

In short, language barriers can all be overcome.  No matter where you come from nor what language you speak, our office can have translation help so that our attorneys can provide you with the best immigration help possible.

Can any U.S. doctor perform my medical exam?

No.  The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service maintains a list of approved doctors.  These doctors are referred to as civil surgeons and you must go to one of these approved doctors for your medical exam and vaccinations.  The medical exam typically runs between $150-$300.

In the St. Louis area, there are approximately 8 facilities that offer the immigration medical exams.  You may access the names and contact information for local civil surgeons by clicking here.

The civil surgeon will have the forms that need to be filled out and will give you the forms in a sealed envelope.  The primary form used by the civil surgeon is form I-693.  Do not open the envelope as that will void the results and you will have to get another sealed envelope.

Please keep in mind that you must also provide documents to USCIS that show you have been vaccinated against many types of diseases.  You should bring your vaccination record with you to the exam.  If you have not had a particular vaccination, you will receive it from the civil surgeon.

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