Whether a visitor or a long-time permanent resident, anyone who is not a US citizen can be deported or barred from returning to the United States because they have committed even a criminal offense, even a minor one.  At a time when immigrants and their families have become political targets because of their race, religion and/or nationality, it is important to ensure that everyone is treated equally, and that the fundamental principles of due process are preserved. 

The United States Supreme Court has recognized the need for equal treatment of non-citizens in criminal court, and held that the Sixth Amendment requires competent defense counsel to advise non-citizen clients of the immigration consequences of a guilty plea or conviction.

The Immigrant Rights Project (IRP) will provide personalized advice to defenders regarding the immigration consequences of pleas and convictions for non-citizens.  IRP attorneys will work with defense counsel to assess the risks of detention, deportation, and inadmissibility, as well as the likelihood and best options for discretionary relief from deportation based on the non-citizen’s criminal, immigration, family, and personal history.

In addition to technical assistance, the IRP will post practice advisories and other resources for defense and immigration attorneys to use in representing their clients.  A priority will be to create and maintain resources that reflect the dynamic changes in this complex area of law.  Ultimately, the IRP aims to expand into a statewide network of experienced immigration attorneys able to provide localized immigration-related advice to defense counsel.

The Immigrant Rights Project is due to start January 1, 2018.

Please note that we will not be representing individuals in their immigration or criminal cases through this project. If you have been arrested and/or charged with a crime and are a non-citizen, you should have your public defender contact us for assistance.

Please check back for more updates about the IRP including information about staffing.