Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Criminal History Can Hinder an Athlete's Plans to Compete in the United States

The New York Red Bulls have encountered some difficulty in signing British striker Luke Rodgers, whose visa application has been delayed due to three arrests since 2002, including once for assault.

Under 9 FAM 40.21(a), an intending nonimmigrant may not be issued a visa if that person has a conviction for a crime involving moral turpitude. "Moral turpitude" exists in crimes like fraud, larceny, and intent to harm persons or things, among other crimes. There are exceptions for political offenses and crimes committed under the age of 18. There are also certain waivers which might overcome a finding of inadmissibility for lack of good moral character.

In Rodgers's case, it is unclear whether the visa delay involves an actual issue of moral turpitude (necessitating a waiver), or just extra police clearance requested by the consulate.

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