Criminal Defense of Immigrants


§ 5.19 (A)

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(A)  In General.  Once the full scope of the immigration problems caused by the criminal history have been identified, the client must establish immigration-related goals to try to achieve in the criminal case.  See § 5.18(E), supra.  Then, counsel must, working with immigration counsel, attempt to identify a solution for each problem.  Solutions may be found:


                (1) In criminal court by reaching a disposition in the criminal case that does not trigger the adverse immigration consequence.


                (2) In criminal court by obtaining post-conviction relief that eliminates the adverse immigration effects of the original conviction, and then reaching a non-damaging second disposition in criminal court.


                (3) In immigration court, by obtaining some type of relief that eliminates the adverse immigration effects of the criminal history.


These solutions may be reached independently, or in combination.  For example, if the problem is that an aggravated felony conviction is triggering deportation, criminal counsel can obtain post-conviction relief that eliminates the deportation consequence of this conviction.  If the client is still deportable, however, on account of other convictions, immigration counsel may need to obtain cancellation of removal in immigration court to avoid deportation.  This can be considered a hybrid solution, in which case part of the solution is obtained in criminal court, and part in immigration court.