If you clicked on this link because you saw immigrant in the title, my guess is you have some strong opinions about a certain recent executive order President Trump signed. If you came here because you wanted some sort of analysis or legal opinion on the substance or practicality of that order, then I am sorry to disappoint. We are neither immigration experts nor policy experts here.
But we are excellent criminal defense lawyers. And we have the sense to know that case strategy can be seriously altered when immigration concerns are in play. A common misperception is that removal (or deportation) proceedings are exclusively for people who are here unlawfully. But removal can occur for other reasons.
Conviction of a crime can also lead to deportation, even if you're here lawfully
Removal proceedings can also occur after a person is convicted of certain crimes, even if that person's immigration status is otherwise perfectly in order. Some of these crimes can also forever keep that individual from returning to the United States. Most would agree that in the abstract, this is a sound principle-of course we do not want murderers or those conspiring to commit acts of terror on our soil. If we can justly convict an immigrant of one of these heinous crimes beyond a reasonable doubt, then even the most pro-immigrants' rights advocates could agree that removal is a just remedy.
It gets a bit trickier when the crimes are less destructive, though. For instance, a Michigan medical-marijuana patient could be well within his state limits for marijuana possession. But in the highly unlikely event that he gets charged and convicted for possession in federal court, he is to be removed. In fact, when it comes to drugs, there does not even need to be a conviction-if the person has ever been a "drug abuser or addict," that person is removable. It is possible that a lawful medical-marijuana patient in our state could be considered a "drug abuser" for immigration purposes.
We have a duty to inform clients about possible deportation-and we know it
What's the point? Well, if you are not a U.S. citizen, there is more to consider when you are charged with a crime. In Padilla v Kentucky, the U.S. Supreme Court told criminal defense attorneys that they have a duty to consider and advise their clients of possible immigration consequences of criminal convictions. Unfortunately, not all defense attorneys are aware of this duty.
So if you are not a U.S. citizen and find yourself charged with a crime, make sure you find a lawyer who knows that you have more at stake than just jail or community service-such as an attorney at our firm. Although we do not pretend to be experts in immigration law here, we are expert strategists when defending our clients. And we know that for many who are not U.S. citizens, the top priority is remaining in this great country. We can help with that.