California Sentences and Immigration

Citizenship and Naturalization
Post-Conviction Relief
Removal Defense
Publication Date

In some cases, the amount of an imposed, potential, or served criminal sentence can determine the outcome of the immigration case. The law governing how state sentencing dispositions affect immigration penalties is fast-changing. The good news is that an informed defender often can structure a sentence that gives the prosecution what they require, while avoiding immigration penalties. An informed immigration advocate wants to be able to explain this to an immigration judge or adjudicator to win the case.

This guide offers tips for practitioners in both immigration and criminal proceedings, and discusses recent changes in the law, using California sentencing as a model. It includes three charts that summarize how different California sentencing dispositions affect immigrants, and reviews current litigation in this area.