In the wake of the Trump administration’s executive order to focus on deporting undocumented immigrants, many continue to face an unknown future. In 2017, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement received the order to target deportation nationwide. As stated in the order, the first people targeted by this initiative are those who have been convicted of a crime.
Multnomah County courthouse was raided after the order
While law enforcement officials in Oregon stated that the order will not change their policies, many undocumented immigrants facing criminal convictions continue to worry about increased chances of deportation. Their concerns may be valid. Not long after the order was issued, ICE conducted several raids at the Multnomah County courthouse. They targeted a DUI diversion program at the courthouse, arresting a handful of people. ICE agents have also been seen dressed in plain clothes, demanding names from minorities at the courthouse.
Undocumented immigrants may face deportation after their first criminal conviction. Some are family members who have contributed to local communities for decades. The threat of deportation is devastating to those who wish to serve their time and do what is right in the justice system.
Deportation consequences might be due to an incompetent defense
Some immigrants facing deportation could be in the situation due to their previous lawyer. All criminal defense attorneys in the U.S. now must have a basic understanding of immigration consequences for their clients. However, not all defense lawyers do their research.
A criminal defense lawyer should give their client all the information needed to make the best decisions possible. An undocumented immigrant may choose to plead guilty to a crime due to suggestions from their lawyer without understanding the potential deportation consequences.
If the defendant would have made different decisions given all pertinent information, then they may be able to seek post-conviction relief. Post-conviction relief is the process that takes place after the trial is completed, potentially allowing the convicted person to have their sentence corrected, set aside or dismissed.