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New York Courts required to warn noncitizens that pleading guilty to a felony can lead to deportation

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A high court in New York ruled on Tuesday that the due process must extend to noncitizens. Immigration officials must warn noncitizens when pleading guilty to a felony, this may result in their deportation.

Immigrants unknowingly exposed to deportation by pleading guilty

Immigrants who are about to plead guilty to a felony are automatically eligible for deportation. Because some immigrants claim they were not aware that their pleading guilty could lead to their removal from the country, they pleaded guilty and found themselves on their way back to their native country. The New York court overruled the 1995 case of People v. Ford where the court held that “failure to advise a defendant of the possibility of deportation never affects the validity of a guilty plea.” After the passing of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA), many minor crimes were enough to deport immigrants.

Courts say deportation is too harsh

Many of the immigrants who are deported because they pled guilty to criminal conviction often say they did not receive any advice from immigration officials or any legal representation. Some worry that soon automatic deportation will result for non-violent offenses. Courts are beginning to recognize that deportation is a harsh punishment and many times unnecessary for relatively minor crimes. Since the passage of IIRIRA, there have been a record number of deportations reaching over 400,000 since 2012. Noncitizens should be warned of the possibility of deportation before they decide to plead guilty and be forced out of the country.

If you have questions regarding the new immigration reform, applying for a visa or the changing immigration laws, contact us at 314-961-8200 or visit our contact page.

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