Criminal Defense of Immigrants
§ 2.27 3. In Any Event, We Must Establish the Citizenship of Each Client
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Even if we want to decline representation of foreign national defendants entirely, it is necessary to establish the citizenship status of each client, in order to figure out who to refer to counsel with the learning and skill to represent noncitizen defendants. If we want to limit the scope of the representation, we must still be sure to identify each noncitizen defendant, so we can inform them of the necessary information about the risks of the limited representation, and alternatives to it, sufficiently to obtain their informed consent to the limitation.
Our overriding ethical responsibility is to act in the interests of our clients, and it is clear that protecting them against immigration damage flowing from criminal cases is in their best interest. We must do so either by accepting that responsibility ourselves, associating someone competent to do so, or referring the matter to someone who will.