A new California law allows people who are no longer in jail to challenge old convictions, a move that could offer deportation relief to immigrants as President Donald Trump’s administration targets those with prior crimes.
The law — known as “Criminal procedure: post-conviction relief” — allows people who have claims of innocence, or people whose attorneys failed to warn them about the immigration consequences of a plea deal, a way of challenging those convictions.
This law is expected to develop quickly at a time when immigration arrests have increased by nearly 40 percent in early 2017 as agents — emboldened by Trump’s pledge to build a border wall and deport criminals — detained more than 40,000 people suspected of being in the country illegally.
Under Trump’s administration, any immigrant living in the U.S. illegally who has been charged or convicted of any crime, or even suspected of committing a crime, is now an enforcement priority.
Even though current law requires non-citizen defendants to be informed of the immigration consequences of convictions, some defense attorneys still fail to do so.