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USCIS Renewed My Green Card – Safe to Naturalize?

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Since my Green Card got renewed, I’m safe to naturalize, right? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States. There are offices in St. Louis, Missouri, San Diego, California, and Washington D.C. I was surprised to see a comment in the YouTube Channel the other day, where someone was talking about, “Well, I got my Green Card renewed, even though I had this crime. And even though I had this crime, USCIS did not deny my Green Card renewal. And so, that means I’m probably safe to file for citizenship. Right?” In fact, this person didn’t even say probable, they were just opining or claiming or wondering if it was safe for them to apply for citizenship after having their Green Card renewed. In other words, they had a ten-year Green Card and it got renewed for another 10 years.

And so, I have been always surprised since the day we opened our office, about the cases in which USCIS approves an I-90. I think that I-90s, which are the renewal for the Green Card process, I think that they are on some other track, like the same background checks don’t happen when you renew your Green Card as they do when you apply for citizenship. Now, this is not gospel truth. This is not anything that I’ve read in a book. This is just something that I’ve sort of figured out over time. Having seen time and time again, people get their Green Cards approved without getting put into removal proceedings. And I thought for sure that there was at least a chance of them getting put into removal.

For instance, a long, long time ago, Adele and I had a client down in Southern Missouri who had, I think it was some kind of threat theft charges, and he hired us to do his naturalization. And then we decided it’s not safe to file for naturalization, but then it was time for him to renew his Green Card. So he rolled the dice and he got his Green Card renewed. I have another client who pled guilty to embezzling some money from HUD, from the federal government, and he too got his Green Card renewed.

And so, the thing you need to understand is just because your Green Card has been renewed, doesn’t mean that it’s safe to apply for citizenship. Because remember, I always say that citizenship is their last chance to deport you. And you might be applying to get your citizenship, but they’re looking at it, is there a way we can take away his Green Card or her Green Card? So you need to have the right mindset about this and you need to be really careful.

And so, you cannot rely on the fact that your Green Card was renewed that that means it’s safe to apply for citizenship because it’s held to a whole different standard. There’s a whole lot more scrutiny. You’re going to be asked questions about it under oath. None of those things happen when you apply for a Green Card renewal. I’ve never heard of an interview related to a Green Card interview. So you really need to take a look at whatever crimes it is that you have. You need to have a lawyer, an immigration lawyer, who knows what they’re doing, analyze whether it’s safe to take that chance and apply for citizenship, or whether you need to be a little bit more circumspect, a little bit more careful. And then you have to decide whether you want to proceed with citizenship, because that really is going to hold your case up to a whole different level of scrutiny.

I hope this makes sense. I hope you can see the distinction between renewing your Green Card and getting your citizenship, becoming a U.S. citizen. You can see why they hold it to a higher level of scrutiny. But if you have any questions, give us a call, 314-961-8200. Email us info@hackingimmigrationlaw.com. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group, which is called Immigrant Home. If you liked this video, we ask that you please share it out on social and that you subscribe to our YouTube Channel so that you get updates whenever we make videos, just like this one. Thanks a lot and have a great day.

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