Skip to main content

The Supreme Court Recognizes An Old Right for Immigrants!

The Supreme Court yesterday issued what can only be considered a seminal decision as it applies to the constitutional rights of all immigrants. In Padilla v. Kentucky, the court expressed, at least in summary, its dismay at the increasing difficulties caused by today’s immigration laws.

Over the 21 years of my practice, I have had literally hundreds of clients who were improperly informed or not informed at all, of the negative immigration consequences of their “plea.” It is, frankly, about time that the failure of the criminal defense bar to adequately inform their clients becomes a reason to have these convictions overturned. I foresee an enormous surge in Motions to Reopen removal proceedings based upon the Supreme Courts decision.
Some may not agree (certainly ICE won’t), and while not mentioned by name, Padilla v. Kentucky also in my view sets aside the BIA’s decision in Matter of Pickering, whch itself was severely limited in Matter of Cota-Vargas, where the BIA recognized the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution. Having a conviction corrected because a person was not informed of the consequences of that plea is clearly a legitimate reason to NOT hold that conviction as still rendering a person removalable. So says SCOTUS!

Criminal Defense lawyers around the country will now have to seek training in the immigration consequences of a plea, or do what some of the best criminal defense lawyers already do–retain competent immigration counsel to assist in the defense of their clients. AILA members–Immigration lawyers– should also proactively reach out to the criminal defense bar in their jurisdictions. Teach seminars, offer assistance, and even sign up to assist in the representation of accused individuals in state and federal courts.

Another important signal coming out of this decision is that the Supreme Court may be laying the groundwork for immigration reform as it relates to the extraordinarily harsh and failed policies of removal that were established as part of IIRAIRA (Illegal Immigration Reform Act and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996). The provisions substantially expanding “aggravated felony” definitions, demanding permanent bars for seemingly minor failures, and wreaking havoc on the Due Process clause of the constitution all scream for a “fix.” This decision sends a clear signal to Congress that it is time to get to work on the Reform.

Finally, I can see looking down the road, similar due process claims as they relate to the ineffective assistance of counsel in Immigration Court and before the Board of Immigration Appeals. If an person is entitled to competent representation as it pertains to the immigration consequences of their criminal plea, does it not follow that they are entitled to competent representation during their actual removal hearings? Attorney General Holder set asideMatter of Compean early in his term as Attorney General, and reinstated In Re Lozada as the standard for claiming ineffective assistance of counsel. Lozada itself is a poorly reasoned decision and requires a wasteful use of State Bar resources to use the decision to a client’s benefit. Frankly, an argument can now be made that there is, in fact, a right to counsel in Immigration Court proceedings, and that where a person cannot afford counsel, one should be appointed and paid for by the government.

Regardless of any other thoughts, however, I personally want to the thank the Supreme Court for doing the right thing in this case. It shows you that perseverance and holding the government’s feet to the fire can bring results.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

If You Are An Immigrant (even a US Citizen), Here Are 9 Things You Should Know

Are you a Naturalized U.S. Citizen, Lawful Permanent Resident, Visa Holder, or an Undocumented Immigrant? We recommend you take the following steps to protect yourself in our current version of America.
The last couple of weeks have reminded immigrants, even naturalized U.S. citizens, that they were not born in the United States. Our office has received countless phone calls, emails, and social media messages from people worrying about what their family’s future in the United States holds.
Most people want to know what they can do now to protect themselves from what promises to be a wave of anti-immigration activity by the federal government. Trump's Executive Order on Interior Enforcement has some provisions that should make most Americans shiver.  We recommend the following actions for each of the following groups:
Naturalized U.S. citizens. In particular if you have a foreign accent, and you are traveling within 100 miles of any US Border (including the oceans), we strongly rec…
Si usted es inmigrante (incluso un ciudadano de los EE.UU.), aquí hay 9 cosas que usted debe saber.

¿Es usted un ciudadano estadounidense naturalizado, residente legal permanente, titular de una visa o inmigrante indocumentado? Le recomendamos que tome los siguientes pasos para protegerse de nuestra versión actual de América.
Las últimas semanas hemos recordado a los inmigrantes, incluso a los ciudadanos estadounidenses naturalizados, que no nacieron en los Estados Unidos. Nuestra oficina ha recibido innumerables llamadas telefónicas, mensajes de correo electrónico y mensajes de medios sociales de personas preocupadas por el futuro de su familia en los Estados Unidos.
La mayoría de gente quiere saber qué puede hacer ahora para protegerse de lo que promete ser una ola de actividad anti-inmigración por parte del gobierno federal. La orden ejecutiva de Trump sobre la aplicación de la ley interior tiene algunas disposiciones que deberían hacer temblar a la mayoría de los estadounidenses. …

The DOJ Raised The Penalty Fee for Immigration Law Violations--Including Employer Sanctions

The Department of Justice announced an increase in fines for violations of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as the pertain to those sections that account for fraud, document abuse, and unfair immigration-related employment practices. While this is only an adjustment for inflation, it brings home the point that that poorly or incorrectly completing immigration forms, like the Form I-9, can lead to very costly fines from ICE and the Immigration Court. If you have any questions or concerns about I-9s in your company, please call the attorneys and Kuck Immigration Partners.  We have decades of experience representing employers in the ICE and DOL immigration investigations.  You can reach us at 404-816-8611 or at ckuck@Immigration.net.  




U.S.C. citation

Name/description

CFR citation DOJ penalty assessed after 8/1/2016 ($) 1 DOJ penalty assessed after 2/3/2017 ($) 2 8 U.S.C.     IRCA; Unfair immigration-related employment practices, document abuse (per individual discriminated against).     …