On February 11, 2012, I am honored to speak at a Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia program in Vancouver. The program is entitled “Civil Law for Criminal Lawyers,” and I will be presenting on the effect of a Canadian criminal proceeding on a person’s ability to enter the United States.
In brief, any type of criminal proceeding can have an effect on a person’s ability to enter the United States, even if that proceeding does not end with a conviction. The U.S. places the burden of proof of admissibility on applicants for admission, and so frequently CBP officers will request to review court records to make their own determination on whether an applicant is admissible. Criminal defense attorneys in and outside the United States should consider the U.S. immigration consequences of criminal activity early on in the representation, if traveling to the U.S. is a client concern. Post conviction relief is very limited after a person is convicted. The U.S. immigration laws do not typically recognize Canadian pardons.
My presentation will lay out the law in more technical terms than this, and will at some length discuss various bases of inadmissibility, such as crimes involving moral turpitude, crimes involving controlled substances, and certain forms of conduct that do not even require a conviction to create a basis for inadmissibility. I will conclude by discussing the various forms of waivers that may be available.