Our clients are representative of the diverse communities we serve. As a result, a substantial number of our clients are non-citizens, who face a variety of harsh immigration consequences. Our Non-Citizen Practice seeks to mitigate these consequences in two ways.
First, for all our non-citizen direct appeal clients, we conduct a thorough criminal-immigration analysis. This evaluation determines how their criminal conviction on appeal, as well as any other convictions, affects their immigration status, including the possibility of deportation, inadmissibility for relief in immigration court, or denial of naturalization. In consultation with each client, we then pursue the direct appeal with these immigration consequences in mind, ensuring any relief we obtain puts the client in the best position given the client’s immigration status. Depending on the case, we might also pursue other forms of relief, including a C.P.L. § 440 motion, if doing so offers the best chance of mitigating the client’s immigration consequences.
Second, Appellate Advocates separately receives referrals from the Immigration Defense Project for post-conviction relief for non-citizens whose prior convictions now subject them to immigration consequences. Through our zealous advocacy, we have succeeded in ensuring that many of our clients—some of whom have lived in this country for decades or longer—can remain in the United States with their families and avoid deportation. For non-citizens, even a minor conviction can result in deportation to a country they have never visited since they immigrated to the United States. This unforgiving deportation system continues to penalize non-citizens long after their criminal case is over, and deportation may often be an unforeseen outcome of a criminal conviction. Our innovative Non-Citizen Post-Conviction Relief Practice seeks to alleviate these immigration consequences of a criminal conviction, which is often the most important consideration for non-citizens ensnared in the criminal legal system.