How would two petty theft charges affect my citizenship application? 3 Answers as of April 16, 2015I have been a Permanent Resident since 1989. Currently I'm in the process of applying for citizenship. I have two petty theft charges, one from 1997 for walking out of a store with a sweater, I was young and made a stupid mistake. The second was for walking out of a restaurant without paying in 2004. See, I struggle with bi-polar and when the second incident occurred my father had passed, I was emotionally unstable, and off of my medication. Moreover, both incidents took place more than 10 years ago. At the moment I have an immigration lawyer helping me with my application process, but it will be some time until he gets back to me. The waiting has been difficult and I have been having a lot of anxiety. None the less, I was wondering if I should be okay when I apply for naturalization? I'm truly a good person who has good moral character, but simply came across some challenges because of my bi-polar illness. I've definitely learned from my mistakes and have learned that taking medication is nothing to be ashamed of. Again, the incidents occurred more than 10-years ago and they were both petty theft charges, should I be okay? Any advise or feedback would truly help, as this is causing a lot sleepless nights and anxiety. Thanks in advance!
Frazier, Soloway & Poorak, P.C. | David Nabow Soloway
You are quite correct in understanding that taking medication for bipolar illness is nothing to be ashamed about, and I wish you well in managing your illness. The two criminal offenses you mentioned indeed may stand in the way of eligibility for naturalization, and since you have an immigration attorney who is familiar with your situation, you should obtain immigration-related advice directly from him, rather than from attorneys on a forum like this who only are provided brief bits of information and who respond to questions in ways intended as general information and not specific legal advice. Additionally, if you are having many sleepless nights due to anxiety about this matter, you should give serious consideration to consulting with a psychologist or other expert who is skilled in addressing anxiety and sleeplessness - there is nothing to be ashamed about in getting that type of help.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Baughman & Wang | Justin X. Wang
You may be subject to removal because you had 2 crimes involving moral turpitude. It is possible that the USCIS may let you go but I would not count on that. If you are in immigration court, you can request for relief in the form of cancellation of removal for LPR, which is not hard to get in your case. Good Luck!
Answer Applies to: California