FCA Article 3 - Juvenile Delinquency

Consequences of JD for Immigration

Possible Negative Consequences

Family court JD adjudications are ​NOT defined as convictions for immigration purposes, but the impact on immigration can be the same. They can:

  • Negatively impact a child’s ability to obtain and maintain lawful immigration status necessary to remain in the U.S.
  • Be sources of information used to support “conduct-based” grounds for inadmissibility or deportability.
  • Be used as negative discretionary factors in immigration applications for immigration relief & benefits.

Conduct-Based Grounds for Removal Do NOT Require a Criminal Conviction

  • Under federal immigration laws, individuals can be barred from immigration relief, permanently removed from the U.S. and prevented from re-entering the country on the grounds of one’s past conduct.
  • Juvenile Delinquency adjudications can provide conduct-related information to support permanent removal from the U.S.
  • Conduct-based grounds include:
    • Prostitution; drug abuse and addiction, drug trafficking; behavior showing a mental condition that poses a threat to self or others; false claim to US citizenship; and violations of Family Court orders of protection.

Admissions without a Family Court Finding

  • Even without a finding by the Court, if a juvenile makes an admission to certain offenses, s/he can be denied status or be prevented from reentering the United States.
  • The federal government treats “admissions” to underlying criminal conduct the same as criminal convictions when determining eligibility for:
    • Certain immigration benefits (i.e. citizenship, green card, etc.)
    • Certain forms of relief from deportation
    • Reentry to the United States after travel abroad

Negative Factor in Applications

  • Even when conduct is not a statutory “conduct-based ground,” delinquencies ​can be ​used as negative discretionary factors in immigration applications (i.e. green cards, citizenship, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
  • Immigration applicants have to provide extensive information and can be asked to provide records related to juvenile delinquencies.