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Ask Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq. Your Own...
Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.
Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq., Immigration Lawyer
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 105122
Experience:  10+ years of experience in various aspects of U.S. Immigration Law.
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I was convicted with afelony cocaine posesion under 1 gram

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I was convicted with afelony cocaine posesion under 1 gram and pleaded guilty ,went to pretrial, got it dismissed with a $223.00 dollar fine after pleading guilty,im a resident alien for 33 yrs, this happen back in feb. 1996 , what are my chances on becoming a us citizen ?
Hello and thank you for using our service. My name isXXXXX and I am a licensed attorney and will try my best to help you. I just ask for two things: 1) Before you sign off, please remember to rate me positively as that is the only way that I am paid and your question does not close after you rate me so I can still answer additional questions without additional charge if you have follow-ups even weeks or months later; and, 2) IF I have bad news for you, please remember I am only the messenger. When you rate me, it is my service to you that you rate, not whether the news is good or bad. I will try my best to give you a solution, but sometimes the law does not have a good one.

Unfortunately, zero. In fact, they are most likely waiting for you to apply for U.S. Citizenship in order to place you in removal proceedings. I even had a client once that had the same conviction, maybe even for a little less than that amount of cocaine and his conviction was from back in 1986! U.S. immigration law is not like criminal law. There is no statute of limitations. In fact, the can go back to convictions that may not have gotten a person deported at the time that they were convicted, but became deportable offenses after a certain law was passed. So in other words, in the U.S. immigration context, there is no prohibition against ex post facto laws.

However, I do have goode news for you. I was eventually able to get my client Lawful Permanent Residency again. The trick for you is NOT to apply for U.S. Citizenship yet and NOT to travel outside of the U.S. Use this time that they are not trying to deport you to take care of this conviction so that they cannot use it against you to deport you nor to deny you U.S. Citizenship. So what do you have to do? You have three options, maybe four, but the fourth I would use only if they tried to deport you which if you are successful with one of the first three, they won't even try:

1) Get a full and unconditional governor's or U.S. Presidential pardon for the crime.

2) Hire a VERY good criminal attorney to look into the possibility of reopening your criminal case because something was done incorrectly at the criminal level. If the case can be reopened, then the conviction needs to be vacated (set aside) and then you would need an agreement from the prosecutor not to prosecute you again (which they can do). You can try looking for an attorney at

3) Convince the majority of the U.S. Congress to change the law or to make a law of special application only for you called a Private Bill.

These options essentially would eliminate the conviction so that Immigration cannot use it against you. Unfortunately, sealing or expunging the conviction does not work.

4) IF you became a U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident while inside the U.S. AND you have a U.S. Citizen or U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident spouse or son or daughter that would suffer EXTREME HARDSHIP if you are deported, then you MIGHT stand a chance to not be deported and get Residency again.

So for now, don't try to apply for anything with U.S. CIS and don't travel outside of the U.S.

Please let me know if you have additional questions and please do not forget to rate my service to you (not the state of the law) as that is the only way that I can get credit for my assistance. Even after you rate the service, I can still answer additional questions for you without additional charge. If you do rate me positively, a bonus is always appreciated. If you would like to request me in the future, just go to Thank you!

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