Teresa and Joe Giudice, stars of the reality TV series Real Housewives of New Jersey, have reportedly reached a plea agreement in a federal bank fraud case according to a report in AbovetheLaw.com. The details of Joe’s plea have not been released, but the damages alleged are over$1 million. A guilty plea will make Joe guilty of an aggravated felony under INA section 101(a)(43)(m) because he has committed a crime involving fraud or deceit which causes losses of over $10,000. Aggravated felonies carry serious consequences in our immigration system. Once a person pleads guilty or is otherwise convicted of an aggravated felony, he is not eligible for more forms of relief from deportation. In the Fifth Circuit (which covers Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi) under controlling precedent, he may apply to re-adjust his status to lawful permanent resident with a criminal waiver under INA section 212(h) if he adjusted his status to lawful permanent resident. If he entered the United States with an immigrant visa, the waiver would not be available to him and he would be ineligible to re-adjust his status. Since Joe resides in New Jersey, what will happen in his immigration case will depend on whether he entered the United States with an immigrant visa, and if not, whether the Third Circuit court of appeals will entertain the arguments made before the Fifth Circuit regarding a permanent resident’s eligibility to file to readjust status with a 212(h) waiver.
When people come to me for help and tell me that their spouse or partner is threatening them with deportation, several things run through my