California Supreme Court Directs Lower Court to Vacate Old Conviction for Deported Activist

(San Francisco, CA)—The California Supreme Court today ordered the lower court to vacate the old conviction for deported activist Robert Vivar, bringing him one step closer to being reunited with his family in the U.S.

The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) has been closely involved with post-conviction efforts in this case since its inception: placing it with pro bono counsel at Munger, Tolles, and Olson; submitting expert declarations; filing  amicus briefs supporting vacatur; providing expert guidance; and drafting the laws upon which Mr. Vivar’s claims were made.   

Mr. Vivar, a military veteran with a past drug conviction, was deported in 2013 to Mexico. Since then, he has worked with other deported veterans with their cases and has been an ally with immigrant communities and organizations to push the New Way Forward Act, a bill that would decriminalize immigration and address injustice and systemic racism in the U.S. immigration system.

“The ILRC is pleased that Robert Vivar and his family are one step closer to being reunited. We are thankful that the California Supreme Court recognized Mr. Vivar’s deep connections to the United States and helped correct the fundamental error that led to his unlawful deportation. 

Mr. Vivar’s case underscores how critical it is for defense counsel to advise clients about immigration consequences on the front end, and the importance of courts and legislatures doing everything in their power on the back end to clean up convictions that fall short of these requisite constitutional standards.  Mr. Vivar’s case shows that ILRC’s longstanding work with stakeholders at the local, state, and federal levels to mitigate the immigration consequences of crimes is showing real results: fewer families are being separated, and more families are being reunited. We are grateful to the pro bono attorneys at Munger Tolles & Olson for their outstanding work in this case.