Lawful permanent residents in Colorado who are charged with certain crimes may face deportation and removal proceedings if they are convicted. A case that was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court may help to provide more due process protections to lawful permanent residents who are in this kind of situation.
The case concerned a man who immigrated to the U.S. from the Philippines when he was 13. He was a lawful permanent resident but had not been naturalized. He entered no contest pleas to two residential burglaries in 2007 and 2009. In 2010, the Obama administration moved to have him deported. The immigration judge found that his two state convictions qualified him for removal, and he appealed.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled for the man. It found that the provision in the Immigration and Nationality Act that allows for the deportation and removal of lawful permanent residents who commit violent crimes was unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed, finding that the term is too vague and has been used to deport people who have been convicted of crimes that were not violent.
People who are lawful permanent residents may want to consider applying to become naturalized citizens. If they are ever convicted of a crime, it is possible for lawful permanent residents to be deported. Naturalized citizens generally do not have a deportation and removal risk. People who are currently charged with crimes might want to consult with immigration attorneys about the potential impact that their cases might have on their immigration status. The attorneys may be able to work with the criminal defense lawyers to try to help their clients to secure pleas that avoid harming their immigration statuses. They may also advocate having pleas withdrawn if people were not adequately advised about the immigration risks of a plea.