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Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.
Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq., Immigration Lawyer
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 109314
Experience:  10+ years of experience in various aspects of U.S. Immigration Law.
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This question is specifically for an immigration lawyer. Please

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This question is specifically for an immigration lawyer. Please only respond if you are a qualified and experienced immigration lawyer.

I am a current green card holder (8+ years) and am considering applying for citizenship, however I am concerned that this might impact my current green card status due to some missteps I have had. Approximately 5 years ago I had a domestic altercation with my mother which resulted in my being arrested and charged with assault. Although the charged were later dropped due to my mother not testifying, there is still likely to be a police file with pictures of my mother's bruises and whatever written record the police may typically keep in such cases. There is also likely a second similar police complaint by my mother against me for a second incident a few weeks later. There may also be police report about drug related activity in my house, however they are not related to me specifically. At the time I also went through bankruptcy, which I am now working my way out of. All of these issues occurred almost 5 years ago and have made amends with my mother, ejected all drug users from my home and have been working at steady jobs for 5 years to dig myself out of bankruptcy.

My specific questions are:

1) What are my chances for being approved for citizenship considering that the assault charges were dropped and I have been working at a steady job for 5 years (no other police record or other trouble with the law)?

2) How would I best phrase the written explanation that the immigration adjudicator would read so that my chances for citizenship approval are maximized?

3) If I am denied citizenship, does that impact my green card status so that I would have to leave the US?

4) If I apply for a renewal of my green card status so that I can have more years with a clean record for future consideration, will the background and biometric testing during green card application uncover the same (charges dropped) police report? In essence, is the risk of denial/ejection the same for green card extension the same as for citizenship application?


Hello. Thank you for using our service. All I ask is that before you sign off, you rate me positively. If you are inclined to use the "poor service" or "bad service" options, please ask follow-up questions first and give me a chance. Sometimes the law doesn't have a good solution, but I will try hard to find it if it is available.

I am very qualified. For over 10 years, 90% or more of my practice has been U.S. immigration law. So you have no convictions? And it has been more than 5 years since your last incident? And you did not admit to anything in any of the police reports?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No convictions anywhere in the world.

The incident in question was 4 years ago.


I do not recall admitting anything to the police, but they may have extracted information that I was not aware of. I did not sign any confession or otherwise explicitly admit to guilt. I had to appear in court some months later and my mother showed up and told the prosecutor that she would not testify, the charges were dropped. The prosecutor had pictures of my mother's bruises and my mother's original complaint on file.


Well, you wanted my opinion and I just ask that you not sign off without rating me and when you rate me, you rate me on my professionalism, not whether you like my opinion or not. I hope you understand. In my opinion, even though you have no convictions (which is a good thing), an officer has discretion to grant you U.S. Citizenship or not. There is no " right" to U.S. Citizenship. So seeing the police report and maybe the pictures, etc., I can pretty much assume that they are going to find a way to deny you, even just using their discretion. So in order to have the best chance of obtaining U.S. Citizenship, even though you have no convictions, I would wait a full 5 years since the close of your last case before filing. And when you file, I would file with a huge amount of good moral character letters from friends, family, co-workers, bosses, neighbors, etc. The more you have, the better it is. You do not have to tell them about your issues, but the letters should be long, more than just a few sentences and they should state who they are, how they know you, how long they have known you, that they believe you have good moral character and to state specific reasons, stories, etc. as to why they believe you have good moral character. If you can get letters from politicians, judges, cops, etc., even better. And you will also have to provide them with CERTIFIED copies of all the police reports and court dispositions. You would not be deportable from the U.S. because you have no convictions and the bankruptcy doesn't matter, but to have the best chance at U.S. Citizenship, my opinion is that you wait more than 5 years after the last case against you closed and that you submit everything that I listed. 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!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

(not sure if this reply made it to you - resending)

I take it from your response that almost any police record (even with charges dropped) is likely to result in a denial of citizenship. Why then do they have an entire section that allows for explanations of extenuating circumstances? Is this just a practical way to flush out admissions so that finding police reports is easier for them? I am trying to understand the percentage of people with police records who apply for and receive citizenship - is it a very low percentage?


Also, can you please expand on the difference between applying for an extension to my green card vs. applying for citizenship in terms of background and biometric checks as it pertains to police reports? Not sure if it is relevant, but I have misplaced my green card and would have to apply for a replacement, as I was hoping to travel later this year. This is what prompted me to consider citizenship, since the Chicago USCIS office confirmed that I can apply for citizenship with a misplaced green card as long as I have a photocopy.

No. It isn't likely, but it could be a factor. And yes, it could be a way to flush out admissions. So just do what I recommended and don't try to explain anything. Unfortunately, since USCIS does not release statistics, I do not believe that it will be likely that you will be able to guage your percentage chance.

Neither is going to cause you to be deported. But just asking for an extension should not cause any problem because they will not ask for any police reports since there are no convictions.

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. And don't forget that bonuses are always appreciated! Thank you.
Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq. and other Immigration Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


Your reply states that immigration does not keep statistics, however you do not mention your personal experience in working 10 years as an immigration lawyer.
How many immigration cases with police reports (no convictions) have you personally been involved in and what percentage resulted in denial of citizenship?


I don't keep statistics either and after so many years I haven't really counted. I know that there was at least one that was denied because the person had too many negatives in their record, but they were also convictions. All you can do is try and support your application with strong evidence of your good moral character. Wait to have more than 5 years after the close of the last case and if you want, use an attorney. You can look for one at
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Now I am truly confused ...

Your original response seemed to imply that I will likely be denied (ie. most similar cases will be denied), but your personal recollection suggests only one case where convictions were involved being denied - this is a huge variance between two extremes. I am not asking for definitive statistics, but you must at least have some sense of whether or not similar cases in your personal experience have been mostly denied or mostly approved (or even equally split between denied/approved)




Most cases with convictions are denied. Cases without convictions but where the officer thinks their is a good moral character issue would probably be denied. Just focus on what I explained in my original answer because that is what I think would give you the best chance. There is no way to erase what happend, so you just have to go forward and try your best.