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Case shows importance of knowing criminal and immigration law

When undocumented immigrants in our state are charged and convicted with criminal activity, these charges a lot of the time can interfere with immigration proceedings. They can even result in deportation as well. And while residents here in Florida know that these situations occur from time to time, it’s often hard to consider just how harrowing they can be without seeing an example.

Today we wanted to do just that for readers of our blog. We wanted to look at a case out of Boston, Massachusetts, involving law students who tackled a particularly difficult case that involved not only immigration but criminal law issues as well. This example not only shows how serious these types of situations can be but how important it is to find a lawyer with knowledge in both criminal and immigration law in these particular situations.

In the case, agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency were detaining an unauthorized migrant worker because of a drunk driving charge he had pleaded guilty to a few years prior. Immigrants that plead guilty to crimes in the U.S. can sometimes encounter problems during the hearing process because their immigration status can sometimes be called into question and deportation can be a very real consequence in the end.

This was something law students at Harvard Law School considered when they took his case. Knowing the intricacies of both criminal and immigration law helped them to argue in favor of their defendant, eventually getting a judge to order the man’s release. Though the man in this story likely still has an uphill legal battle when it comes to gaining citizenship, he’s fortunate enough to know several people who not only know how criminal law can effect immigration but will be able to help him through the process if necessary.

Source: Harvard Law School, "Clinical opportunities and a new class at the intersection of immigration and criminal law," Elaine McArdle, Aug. 12, 2013

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