Immigration Consequences of Criminal Convictions
Supreme Court decision in Padilla v. Kentucky (2010) states that defense counsel must inform a non-citizen of the risk of deportation that could arise from a guilty plea based on Sixth Amendment rights. Failure to do so could constitute “ineffective assistance of counsel under Strickland v. Washington (1984) which could mean that either the conviction would be vacated or the guilty plea withdrawn.
Since criminal crimes are often committed in different jurisdictions and under varying administrative and judicial precedents this becomes a complex situation. In effect it requires criminal defense attorneys to consult with immigration attorneys to understand the possible consequences. Also removal proceedings are often in yet different jurisdictions than the criminal sentencing.
This landmark case recognizes that immigration laws impose harsh mandatory deportation consequences on criminal convictions. Congress eliminated 212 c relief which was a second chance to prove rehabilitation if statutorily eligible and thus government discretionary authority to cancel removal for meritorious cases became non-existent.
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