The Governor of California recently signed into law a bill that would help immigrants avoid deportation for low-level drug offenses. Unfortunately, another bill along that same line was vetoed and could result in numerous immigrants facing deportation and removal proceedings. Thankfully, these individuals are entitled to legal representation and have the ability to fight for the right to remain in the country.
Earlier in October, Gov. Brown signed AB 1352, which can help immigrants who are charged with drug possession avoid the deportation process. This is, for the most part, considered a low-level offense and not something for which families should be torn apart. However, those who plead guilty to such offenses may still face deportation.
Unfortunately, AB 1351 was vetoed, which truly is rather unfortunate. If it had passed, this bill would have allowed immigrants the ability to plead guilty to drug offenses in order to gain access to rehabilitation programs, as a guilty plea is necessary in order for a drug offender to begin this type of program. However, having to enter a guilty plea makes these individuals eligible for deportation proceedings.
In some respects, progress has been made regarding the issues faced by immigrants in California who have been accused of drug offenses. There are those, though, who will still need help getting through deportation and removal proceedings as a result of having drug-related offenses on their records. With legal assistance, these individuals can not only fight any criminal accusations against them, but they can also fight to avoid deportation and/or appeal any adverse rulings.
Source: hrw.org, “California: Partial Drug Reform Victory for Immigrants“, Oct. 9, 2015