It is not possible to provide a legal opinion as to whether he can qualify for naturalization without first examining his complete immigration and criminal history. He needs to collect all of his information concerning the 2007 felony and the expungement so that an experienced immigration attorney can examine his case and provide him with a legal opinion. Immigration law treats criminal adjudications differently than does criminal law. Good luck.
Legal disclaimer: The statement above is provided by CC Abbott is based on general assistance and not intended to be a legal opinion because not all the facts are provided. The person requesting information and all others reading the answer should retain an attorney who is permitted by the state bar within the jurisdiction who can examine the complete facts and provide a legal opinion on your case. All information provided in the above answer and other information provided by CC Abbott does not create an attorney/client relationship within any state of Federal law.
First, an expungement is not recognized for immigration purposes. Second, depending on the offense for which he was convicted (and whether he has additional convictions), he may or may not be eligible for naturalization, and he may be deportable from the U.S.
(213) 394-4554 x0 Mr. Shusterman is a former INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) with over 35 years of immigration experience. His response to your question is general in nature, as not all the facts are known to him. You should retain an attorney experienced in immigration law to review all the facts in your case in order to receive advice specific to your case. Mr. Shusterman's statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship.
Of course he can file. Immigration will cash that filing fee check with no problem. The question is can he become a citizen with his felony. My colleagues are correct to point out that an expungement has no effect for immigration purposes, even if then don't know about it or can't find out about it because the existence of the record may have been obliterated on state or federal databases. But the question cannot be answered completely because we need to know the exact conviction and sentence. If the crime is what immigration considers an aggravated felony, he could find himself in removal proceedings without a defense. If it is just a crime involving moral turpitude, he will still get denied because it is within five years. You need to see an attorney and let them delve into the specifics of the case. Good luck!
There is no way to answer the question without revieiwing the underlying criminal record and determine its effect on your good moral character. An expungement alone doesn't mean USCIS cannot consider it in determining your good moral character.
Lynne R. Feldman, Attorney at Law
Concentrating in Immigration and Nationality Law
2221 Camino Del Rio South, Suite 201
San Diego, CA 92108
phone: (619) 299-9600, facsimile: (619) 923-3277
Formerly Adjunct Professor -- Immigration law
University of Illinois College of Law