Thursday, June 5, 2014
CrImmigration Article of the Day: Give Us Your Huddled Masses Yearning to Breathe Free: A Criminal Defender Resource Guide to Advising the Non-Citizen Criminally Accused by Rita Montoya
Give Us Your Huddled Masses Yearning to Breathe Free: A Criminal Defender Resource Guide to Advising the Non-Citizen Criminally Accused by Rita Montoya 2013 Criminal Law Practitioner, p. 105, Fall 2013
Abstract: For a variety of reasons, voluntary and involuntary, some non-citizens find themselves in the United States criminal justice system accused of a myriad of federal, state, or municipal criminal law violations. A criminal conviction for a non-citizen can affect their very existence in the United States. As criminal defense attorneys, we have an affirmative duty to advise our clients about immigration consequences, namely the risk of deportation, for potential criminal convictions. There are many resources and sources of funding available to criminal defense attorneys and legal advocates in their education and provision of immigration legal services. The inscription at the base of the Statue of Liberty welcomes immigrants to the U.S. with the promise of a golden entry way to freedom. For the non-citizen criminally accused, who have no right to court-appointed counsel in immigration proceedings, their last stop before being pushed out of the golden door often lies with a Public Defender office. Despite great strides as a result of relentless self-advocacy, these offices across the U.S. remain over-burdened. Adding an imperative duty such as advisement of immigration consequences upon the already buckling backs of Public Defenders may seem like the ultimate straw. But our backs are strong and with the assistance of others in the legal and public interest community, we can provide our non-citizen clients with the justice they deserve.