In unfortunate cases, some immigrants may find their children in juvenile delinquency proceedings. Understandably, some may get confused about whether the same immigration rules applied to adults also apply to minors in this scenario.
Relation of juvenile delinquency and immigration
According to the Board of Immigration Appeals, juvenile delinquency proceedings are civil and not criminal in nature. Therefore, findings in these cases do not constitute convictions for immigration purposes. If a court tries a minor for an offense, the minor will not automatically be subject to deportation. But this applies only to cases in juvenile courts. If a minor is tried in an adult court, then findings would count as convictions for immigration purposes.
This, however, does not mean a noncitizen minor’s immigration status will remain untouched. Their delinquency will reflect on their records and can affect their status in other ways.
Other adverse effects
While juvenile proceedings do not result in a minor’s deportation, the act of misconduct itself can trigger inadmissibility and deportability. Moreover, the proceedings may have adverse effects such as the following:
- Difficulty applying for permanent residency and naturalization: If an individual has a record of any offense, they might have difficulty requesting to change status to permanent residency or applying for naturalization since a good moral character is one of the requirements.
- Relief may not be available: If an individual faces deportation or removal in the future as an adult, it is likely difficult for them to request relief from removal.
- Ineligibility for Family Unity benefits: Depending on the offense, the spouse and children of an individual with a history of delinquency may no longer be eligible for stay and employment grants.
Many factors come into play when it comes to immigration proceedings. Most of the time, it becomes too complex and stressful for invested parties. Taking time to research and understand the applicable rules can help immigrants prepare for any immigration process they will go through.