December 22, 2011

Deportation plans could split up married lesbian couple in Vermont

MONTPELIER, Vt. — Frances Herbert and her wife, Takako Ueda, were looking forward to the New Year’s Eve family concert at the Baptist Church, the town fireworks on the pond and then a night at home to celebrate the arrival of 2012.

But federal immigration authorities have told Ueda she needs to leave the United States for her native Japan by Dec. 31, a move that would split up a couple who have been together more than a decade and were married under Vermont law in April.

Camille Mackler's Photo Conversation

Immigration Attorney, Camille Mackler has a unique way of communicating the issues surrounding immigration. As the 2012 elections are nearing, Camille has began to use pictures to highlight current immigration debates as well as the history in immigration throughout the United States. "I hope these images will put a human face on the issue and remind us all what immigration means to this country. My hope is that by having a conversation through images we can finally communicate in a meaningful way and remember what is at stake."

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December 16, 2011

Federal Probe Finds Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Office Violated Rights of Latinos

According to the civil rights report by the United States Department of Justice, Latinos are four to nine times more likely to be stopped in traffic stops in Maricopa County than non-Latino’s and that the agency’s immigration policies treat Latinos as if they are all in the country illegally.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio along with his office, known as MCSO, is under federal investigation for racial profiling and discrimination. Sheriff Arpaio denies the racial profiling allegations and believes that individuals who are stopped by deputies are done so because there is enough probable cause to believe they have committed crimes. The Justice Department disagree with Sheriff Arpaio’s and MCSO’S policies. “Arpaio’s own actions have helped nurture [a] culture of bias.”

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December 14, 2011

Alice Clapman Explores the Consequences for Noncitizen Defendants Facing Removal Proceedings

Padilla v. Kentucky was a major victory for immigrants because the United States Supreme Court issued a decision that requires counsel to inform their non-citizen clients of any immigration consequences that would result from pleading guilty.

Jose Padilla was arrested in 2001 after authorities discovered more than 1,000 pounds of marijuana in his truck. Originally from Honduras, Padilla was afraid that pleading guilty would revoke his legal permanent residency in the United States and have him deported, but his attorney advised him otherwise. Padilla agreed to plead guilty; however, his plea made it certain that he would be deported once he completed his time served.

The Kentucky Supreme Court believed that Padilla’s Sixth Amendment right was not violated because they felt that his lawyer provided him with effective assistance. Advice about deportation was a “collateral” consequence, which the court did not consider to be required information disclosed to Padilla. The United States Supreme Court disagreed with the Kentucky Supreme Court, reversing and remanding the lower court's decision. “Constitutionally competent counsel would have advised him that his conviction for drug distribution made him subject to automatic deportation.” The United States Supreme Court issued a decision that requires counsel to inform their non-citizen clients about immigration consequences that would result post conviction.

While Padilla was viewed as a major development for immigrants, many challenges still exist for non-citizens within the United States Criminal Justice System. Immigration deportation has arisen within the last few decades because non-citizens have lacked the benefit of counsel. Director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic at the University of Baltimore School of Law, Alice Clapman, has recently written the article, Petty Offenses, Drastic Consequences: Toward a Sixth Amendment Right to Counsel for Noncitizen Defendants Facing Deportation, exploring the decision from Padilla and how it can be used to protect non-citizens with misdemeanors that cause immigration consequences.