- A finding of abuse or neglect could negatively impact a noncitizen by preventing him/her/them from:
- Becoming a citizen
- Becoming a lawful permanent resident
- Receiving relief from deportation
- Being readmitted into the U.S. after travel abroad
Discovery of Family Court Findings
Immigration authorities can discover family court orders through:
- Applications for citizenship, permanent residence, & other benefits
- Interactions with immigration authorities, such as:
- Questions during deportation proceedings
- Interrogation at the border/airport
- NYS Order of Protection Registry
Denial of Benefits
- Family court findings can be used to deny a benefit based on a lack of “good moral character.”
- Immigrants bear the burden of proof in immigration applications and can be denied a benefit if they refuse to submit family court records.
Admissions on Benefit Applications
- Many applications seeking an immigration benefit or form of relief from removal will include broadly-worded questions that must be answered by the applicant under penalty of perjury.
- For example:
- Have you EVER committed, assisted in committing, or attempted to commit, a crime or offense for which were not arrested?
- For guidance: Form N-400 FAQ
- The following dispositions may lead to the denial of an immigration benefit or protection from deportation:
- 1051a submission: Immigration authorities will treat a 1051a submission as a finding of abuse or neglect and may request records to elucidate the “grounds for the finding.”
- Suspended Judgment: A respondent may still be questioned by immigration authorities regarding any vacated, sealed or expunged records and/or findings despite treatment of the disposition pursuant to New York State laws. Example: Cannabis charges & expungement
- Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal (ACD): Before a case is dismissed, the existence of an open family court case may still prompt questions from immigration authorities.
Family Treatment Court
Family Treatment Court (FTC) is a program designed to help respondents and their children get back together and stay together. This program is designed to service individuals who have a neglect case against them with alcohol or substance abuse allegations.
- Participation in Family Treatment Court may carry unique risks for non-citizens because:
- Admission to drug abuse or drug addiction may render a non-citizen deportable and permanently ineligible for an LPR card (green card) and other benefits.
- Admission to facts that give immigration authorities “reason to believe” a person is a “drug trafficker” can also permanently ban a noncitizen from receiving an LPR card or other benefits.