California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed a trio of state laws into law that help protect immigrants from the harshness of some federal immigration laws and establish important rights for those who have no legal status. Through passage of the TRUTH Act, AB813, and SB1242, the California legislature, along with the Governor, have continued to take groundbreaking steps to integrate its existing immigrant population into society. The TRUTH Act provides due process rights for immigrants who have been accused or convicted of crimes and are being held in local jails. Under this law, when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) places an official detainer on a jail inmate, or a request to the jail to hold or transfer the inmate, jail staff must provide the immigrant with a copy of the detainer. In the event that ICE wants to interview an immigrant inmate, the relevant law enforcement agency must give the inmate a written consent form that sets forth the following provisions:
- Explanation of the purpose of the interview
- Advisement that the interview is voluntary
- Advisement that he or she has the right to decline the interview
- Advisement of the inmate’s right to have counsel present during the interview
Additionally, the TRUTH Act provides for community oversight of the working relationship between law enforcement agencies and ICE through an annual public review process. AB813 allows California’s criminal courts to consider challenges to the validity of a criminal conviction after the case is expired and the individual is no longer in custody, which puts California law in line with 44 other states that allow similar challenges in their court systems. On the other hand, SB 1242 addresses the retroactivity of a 2015 law that changed the maximum possible punishment for a misdemeanor to 364 instead of 365 days, recognizing the fact that immigrants may face deportation if a crime involves a potential sentence of 365 days or more. This change automatically will apply to all misdemeanors as of January 1, 2017. Furthermore, those individuals who were sentenced for a misdemeanor crime prior to January 1, 2015 can ask the criminal court to reduce their sentences to 364 days. Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C., has extensive knowledge of federal immigration laws, as well as state laws that impact the rights of immigrants. We have the experience to guide you and advocate on your behalf throughout any type of deportation proceeding, no matter what the allegations may be. We know the various defenses to deportation that are available to you, and how to build the strongest defense that is available to you, based on the evidence supporting your case. Contact your California deportation defense lawyers today, and discover what we can do for you.