Obtaining legal citizen status in America can be hard enough for someone who has never committed a crime. If you admit to committing past crimes to an immigration official, you could lose the opportunity for entry.

Immigration officials could deny your request for a green card and deport you if you talk about minor criminal conduct you committed years ago — even if you never received a conviction. Protect yourself by never admitting past criminal conduct.

What could make you ineligible for admission into the U.S?

According to section 212(a)(2)(A)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, anyone the courts have convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude is ineligible for admission into the United States. It also states that simply admitting to committing such a crime will result in inadmissibility. This means you do not have to have received a criminal conviction for immigration officials to bar you from entering the country or becoming a citizen.

A crime involving moral turpitude in immigration law refers to any act the public might see as vile, base or depraved. In most cases, these crimes involve the defendant’s recklessness or intent to harm. However, the definition is vague and subjective. Almost any crime could be one of moral turpitude depending on the person making the decision.

How can you protect yourself as an immigrant in Michigan?

During any meetings, conversations or communications with immigration officials, do not offer up any information about your criminal history. You might think you are being honest about your past, but admitting to criminal activities could make it difficult or impossible to stay in the U.S.

It does not matter if charges against you in your home country never amounted to a conviction. Admitting to any criminal activity, even from years ago, could work against you. A lawyer could help you during the immigration process if you are afraid of saying the wrong thing.