We Believe In Second Chances
POST-CONVICTION RELIEF PROGRAM
ImmDef is one of the only nonprofits in California with dedicated staff focused on representation in post-conviction relief. Post-conviction relief gives immigrants the chance to challenge unlawful criminal convictions that are the basis of their removal proceedings in immigration court or otherwise impacting their ability to obtain or maintain lawful immigration status.
A Fighting Chance In Court
Many people do not realize that a conviction for a low-level offense such as petty theft, shoplifting or non-violent drug possession can trigger a deportation order and lead to exile for lawful permanent residents (LPRs) who may have had status in the United States for years, families, US citizen children, and may not have any memories of their country of birth. A criminal conviction that may have no long term consequences for a U.S. citizen can become a life sentence for someone who only has legal residency.
Depending on the conviction, immigration judges may or may not have discretion to grant relief from deportation, regardless of mitigating factors in the case – including misdemeanor convictions in many cases. For lawful permanent residents whose convictions effectively make them ineligible for any immigration relief from deportation, vacating the criminal conviction may be the only chance they have to remain in the United States.
While the California Legislature has passed section 1473.7 of the Penal Code in 2017, allowing more individuals to seek post-conviction relief , significant ImmDef's PCR team approaches each client's case as an opportunity to defend and advance the rights of noncitizens navigating the immigration process. To that end, we look for and pursue opportunities to refine, clarify, and extend the law, as we recently did in People v. Manzanilla, where a California Court of Appeal issued a published decision clarify key legal issues that impact noncitizens seeking to vacate immigration-adverse convictions.
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