3 Questions Regarding N-400, Travel, & Documents

#1
My husband was detained for shoplifting (<$250 Class A misdemeanor, sent home with court date) in 2002, completed diversion, and had records expunged.

In the following decade, we made several trips out of country with no issues.

We had a relapse in Oct 2015, and he was caught shoplifting again (>$500 which is currently a Class D Felony, taken to county detention center, released on own cognizance), reduced down to a Class A misdemeanor in court, prosecutor recommended diversion, completed within a month, and had records expunged. We were worried he wouldn't be eligible for diversion since it's a one time pass, but they recommended it, so we didn't argue :) I guess their internal records had been purged in the ensuing 13 years?

We went overseas this year in March, and on our return he was 'detained' at Chicago O'Hare. They said the computer had something on him, and asked him to tell them the truth, and he did tell them about both times, and that he had finished diversion. They let him go after about 30 minutes.

I wish I had applied for his citizenship before this second incident, but it's too late now. I started filling out an N-400 last week, saw the questions on the form regarding the detentions, and diversion, etc., did some homework (including forums on this website), and decided to wait 4 more years to apply - is that that right decision?

My second question is regarding going overseas this summer; is there a chance that he might be detained again? I wouldn't want to chance a more serious outcome of the detention if there is a chance of getting flagged again; can you be flagged on return a second time, even if you have been allowed in before?

* I have the paperwork from this latest incident, but for the life of me I can't find paperwork from the first incident. Should I contact the county to get that together even if I'm not applying right now?

Thank you so much in advance.
 

CalGreenCard

Registered Users (C)
#2
I would probably recommend that you talk to an attorney. With one conviction (and I'm afraid these will count as convictions for immigration purposes even if expunged for state law purposes) I'd say you'd be pretty safe. With two convictions--even if one of them is a long time ago--things get a bit trickier. He is still likely a low priority for any kind of enforcement action, as given his long residence in the US he'd probably be eligible for some kind of relief. That is probably why they didn't detain him for more than 30 minutes. However he can certainly be flagged a second time. If he's clearly admissible he'll get in fine the second (third, etc) time too even if detained briefly. But if he is technically deportable (that is where you need legal advice) a second officer might take a harsher view.

But I believe that two convictions is a bit trickier than just one and I think you need legal advice. He's probably OK (but might be good as you are thinking to wait 4 more years when it comes for naturalization) but I'd talk to an attorney.
 

i400

Registered Users (C)
#3
I wish I had applied for his citizenship before this second incident, but it's too late now. I started filling out an N-400 last week, saw the questions on the form regarding the detentions, and diversion, etc., did some homework (including forums on this website), and decided to wait 4 more years to apply - is that that right decision?

1)YES.apply in 2020...he needs 5 years clean record from the last arrest in order to apply for n400

My second question is regarding going overseas this summer; is there a chance that he might be detained again? I wouldn't want to chance a more serious outcome of the detention if there is a chance of getting flagged again; can you be flagged on return a second time, even if you have been allowed in before

2)yes he can be flagged again...but will be ok for him to travel and come back..he never been convicted
 
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