Criminal and Immigration Lawyers Serving Cleveland,Ohio and the US

“Crimmigration” is the intersection of criminal law and immigration law.  Some may refer to it the immigration consequences of criminal actions.   However, an exceptional crimmigration lawyer can not only advise the non-citizen defendant on the consequences of the case but can also help the criminal defense lawyer navigate to an appropriate plea agreement (if appropriate).  Regardless of its name, criminal cases impact immigration status and non-citizens who catch a criminal case must have competent advice before proceeding.

The government substantially increased the number of deportations for criminal convictions from under 1000 in the early 1990’s to over 225,000 in 2012.  In Padilla v. Kentucky, the U.S. Supreme Court stated that all non-citizen criminal defendants have the right to effective representation under the Sixth Amendment.  This includes the right to know that immigration consequences exist and to what extent.  Effective December 1, 2013, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court amended the federal criminal rules of procedure requiring federal district court judges, before accepting a plea of guilty or nolo contendere (no contest), to advise the defendant, and ensure that he understands, that “if convicted, a defendant who is not a United States citizen may be removed from the United States, denied citzenship, and denied admission to the United States in the future.” Fed. R. Crim. P. 11(b)(1)(O).

Crimmigration challenges lawyers in several different ways.  Crimmigration lawyers must stay up to date on their reading.  Since mid-2014, the U.S. Supreme Court issued multiple opinions on crimmigration matters including but not limited to Mellouli v. Lynch, Luna Torres v. Lynch, Johnson v. United States, Descamps v. U.S., Moncrieffe v. Holder, Chaidez v. United States and U.S. v. Castleman. That’s seven cases in about two and a half years (as this is written in mid 2016).  There are at least one hundred circuit court of appeals decisions on criminal immigration matters in that same time and hundreds of cases (both published and unpublished) from the Board of Immigration Appeals.

Crimmigration attorneys must understand all aspects of immigration law including not just deportation and removal but detention issues, returning from international travel and adjusting status.   Crimmigration attorneys must understand how criminal cases impact benefits like Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.  Finally, most immigrants want to naturalize.  An astute Cleveland immigration lawyer understands how criminal cases impact obtaining citizenship.

Finally, crimmigration lawyers must understand the criminal process to realistically advise the criminal defendant and criminal defense attorney accordingly.  All this and more play a part in forming and issuing a targeted opinion that advises the non-citizen appropriately.  Call us if you or someone you know is not a citizen of the U.S. and has a criminal case pending against them!