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Citizenship interview /criminal history

Citizenship interview /criminal history

Old Jul 14th 2019, 3:18 pm
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Default Citizenship interview /criminal history

Hello everybody. Sorry for a long winded first post but I'd be interest to hear from people the have gone through the naturalization process. I'm an LPR living in the US since 1998 with a USC spouse. I'm finally planning to apply for citizenship. Everything should be straight forward except one potential hiccup. I was arrested in the UK in 1986 whilst 17 years old charged and found guilty of using threatening, abusive or insulting words liable to cause a breach of the peace and fined 120 pounds. Whether or not this is considered a CIMT seems open to debate with no clear answer. Is this likely to cause an issue ? Apparently magistrates courts don't keep records. Here's the dialema.......... if I'm asked about it in the interview I want o be entirely honest. The truth is, I pleaded not guilty because I wasn't guilty of anything. The arrest occurred at a football match at a time when hooliganism was a big problem and football fans were stereotyped as hooligans regardless of their behaviour. I protested to a police officer about the overbearing heavy handed manner in which he was conducting himself and threatened to report him. It was an empty threat in the heat of the moment and obviously a stupid thing to do . Naturally it didn't end well for me as he resolved the situation by arresting me on the above charge. Without the resources to hire any legal help I turned up for the hearing not even knowing the specific allegations against me. The officer turned up with a colleague as a false witness and casually claimed I'd been aggressively goading rival fans shouting obsenities and making rude gestures. With no means of defending myself the magistrates had a choice of believing 2 police officers or 1 teenage football fan and inevitably chose the former. I had to take it on the chin, pay the fine and forget about it. Now, if I am honest and try to explain this to an immigration officer in an interview am I going to make myself look dishonest and untrustworthy ? Would I be better off pretending I was guilty of something then downplaying it and expressing remorse however absurd it would be to do so ? Having already been punished once for something I didn't do, I don't want to be punished again 33 year later. thanks for any input and advice
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Old Jul 14th 2019, 3:57 pm
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Default Re: Citizenship interview /criminal history

Presumably you told the authorities about this when you received your green card? If so, it is old news. If you didn't . . .
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Old Jul 14th 2019, 4:16 pm
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Default Re: Citizenship interview /criminal history

Originally Posted by Nutmegger View Post
Presumably you told the authorities about this when you received your green card? If so, it is old news. If you didn't . . .
Yes, I told the authorities. I arrived on a fiancee K-1 visa which required getting a criminal background check report to take for the interview at the embassy in London where it wasn't a problem. I handed over the report at the interview for permanent residency. The interviewing officer took to to another room presumably for advice and came back without making an issue of it. He kept the CBR so I guess it went on file. My concerns now are that the naturalization process will be more in depth and rigorous than applying for LPR and the climate seems to have changed with Trump wanting immigration officers to take a sterner line ( at least that's my perception ). If it comes up at the interview I'm not sure how to handled it.
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Old Jul 14th 2019, 4:56 pm
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Default Re: Citizenship interview /criminal history

Do you still have the documentation? You might need it, it’s possible it’s been lost from the file in 20+ years.

It’s not going to be a problem. You should probably be far more contrite at interview though then you sound here, however, because like it or not, you were found guilty.
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Old Jul 14th 2019, 6:03 pm
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Default Re: Citizenship interview /criminal history

Originally Posted by civilservant View Post
Do you still have the documentation? You might need it, it’s possible it’s been lost from the file in 20+ years.

It’s not going to be a problem. You should probably be far more contrite at interview though then you sound here, however, because like it or not, you were found guilty.
Thanks. I'm sure I could get another CBR if required. The contrition thing is the difficult part. If I'm honest then acting contrite whilst claiming not to be guilty will come across as strange. To be contrite I would have to pretend to have been guilty .
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Old Jul 14th 2019, 6:15 pm
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Default Re: Citizenship interview /criminal history

You were found guilty. In the eyes of US immigration, you were guilty.

I wouldn't even mention the sob story you posted here. If asked, explain what happened, and that you learnt from your mistake. Continuing to protest so long after the fact would not be the best strategy.
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Old Jul 14th 2019, 7:10 pm
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Default Re: Citizenship interview /criminal history

Originally Posted by civilservant View Post
You were found guilty. In the eyes of US immigration, you were guilty.

I wouldn't even mention the sob story you posted here. If asked, explain what happened, and that you learnt from your mistake. Continuing to protest so long after the fact would not be the best strategy.
So I should deceive the immigration officer if asked and pretend to be guilty ? Sorry if this comes across as a sob story but if I was guilty then I wouldn't be here asking advice on how the handle the situation as I would already know. What mistake should I claim to have learnt from ?
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Old Jul 14th 2019, 7:16 pm
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Default Re: Citizenship interview /criminal history

It is incumbent upon you as the applicant for citizenship to show good moral character. Refusing to accept that you might have made mistakes in the past and instead adopting the Michael Flynn ('they were mean and didn't tell me I was doing wrong') defense is not going to show you in a good light.

Contrition is the path to take here, even if it involves you being the bigger man and accepting that something that happened 20+ years ago should really be put in the past by now. I think you'll be fine.

You asked the question, I answered. What you choose to do is up to you. I already am a USC, so it doesn't matter to me.

Last edited by civilservant; Jul 14th 2019 at 8:02 pm. Reason: Typo. OP blocked due to attitude.
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Old Jul 14th 2019, 7:20 pm
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Default Re: Citizenship interview /criminal history

Originally Posted by civilservant View Post
It is incumbent upon you as the applicant for citizenship to show good moral character. Refusing to accept that you might have made mistakes in the past and instead adopting the Michael Flynn ('they were mean and didn't tell me I was doing wrong') defense is not going to show you in a good light.

Contrition is the path to take here, even if it involves you being the bigger and accepting that something that happened 2- years ago should really be put in the past by now. I think you'll be fine.

You asked the question, I answered. What you choose to do is up to you. I already am a USC, so it doesn't matter to me.
I thank you for your advice although calling it ' a sob story ' had a mocking tone to it.
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Old Jul 15th 2019, 11:23 am
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Default Re: Citizenship interview /criminal history

Originally Posted by vladnelson View Post
I thank you for your advice although calling it ' a sob story ' had a mocking tone to it.
Read carefully what civilservant is saying. He is not mocking you he is giving you sound advice. You were found guilty of an offence, that is the fact.
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Old Jul 15th 2019, 11:28 am
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Default Re: Citizenship interview /criminal history

Originally Posted by MidAtlantic View Post
Read carefully what civilservant is saying. He is not mocking you he is giving you sound advice. You were found guilty of an offence, that is the fact.
Thank you MidAtlantic. I'm not wishing to be difficult here. I thought perhaps CS was doubting I was telling the truth in which case on a message board to strangers I have no reason to lie or even ask for advice on the matter. Taking into account the advice given I will have to tweak what happened and present myself as guilty but contrite.
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Old Jul 15th 2019, 11:35 am
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Default Re: Citizenship interview /criminal history

Originally Posted by vladnelson View Post
So I should deceive the immigration officer if asked and pretend to be guilty ? Sorry if this comes across as a sob story but if I was guilty then I wouldn't be here asking advice on how the handle the situation as I would already know. What mistake should I claim to have learnt from ?
Please do not ask our members such questions, it is breaking Site Rule #2.

https://britishexpats.com/site-rules/
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Old Jul 15th 2019, 11:38 am
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Default Re: Citizenship interview /criminal history

Originally Posted by Jerseygirl View Post
Please do not ask our members such questions, it is breaking Site Rule #2.

https://britishexpats.com/site-rules/
Sorry Jerseygirl. I didn't mean to break the rules.
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Old Jul 15th 2019, 12:33 pm
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Default Re: Citizenship interview /criminal history

Originally Posted by vladnelson View Post
So I should deceive the immigration officer if asked and pretend to be guilty ? Sorry if this comes across as a sob story but if I was guilty then I wouldn't be here asking advice on how the handle the situation as I would already know. What mistake should I claim to have learnt from ?
It's an explanation that is not required and serves absolutely no purpose whatsoever in the scheme of US immigration. Were you asked about this crime at the K-1 interview? How about when you went to the adjustment of status interview? Were you asked about the details of this crime and did you declare your innocence and that the authorities bore false witness against you to obtain a conviction? Did you at any time in history hire a solicitor to have this verdict overturned and innocence proclaimed on the front pages of the local dailies?

If asked about your criminal past, you give a brief reply and hand over the documentation. First mistake you made is to not make copies of paperwork submitted with each and every petition you submitted to immigrate to the US. That said, USCIS will have a copy of your ACRO report and your submitted documentation in your case file. Learn your American history, dress casually but neatly, be respectful, and good luck.
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Old Jul 15th 2019, 2:04 pm
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Default Re: Citizenship interview /criminal history

Originally Posted by vladnelson View Post
Sorry Jerseygirl. I didn't mean to break the rules.
No problem, you are new.

Good luck with it all. Stick around and join in the other BE forums.
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