Sunday, September 23, 2018

Immigration consequences: the "particularly serious crime" bar


To provide constitutionally effective assistance of counsel requires that we advise our clients about the potential immigration consequences of a particular plea. And those consequences include navigating the legal landscape for criminal convictions that may bar a client from applying for certain forms of protection-based relief, when available.

Past CLE resources are available on our website to assist defense counsel when representing noncitizens in criminal proceedings, and in understanding the immigration consequences of certain criminal convictions generally. (See here, here, and here.)

Very recently, the Harvard Immigration Clinical Program’s Crimmigration Clinic, together with the Immigrant Defense Project (IDP), drafted another helpful resource to add to the mix. This one is specific to evaluating whether the BIA and federal courts have found specific federal (and state) offenses to constitute "particularly serious crimes" such that a conviction would bar asylum or withholding removal, two forms of protection-based relief. While the resource does not obviate the necessity of case-specific research, it provides a great first step into investigations you may want to conduct if you believe your client may be eligible for protection-based relief from removal on down the road.

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