29 May Drug Crimes reclassified as Misdemeanor still removable under Federal Law
By Atty. Crispin Caday Lozano
In a Court of Appeals decision on May 10, 2019, the court concluded that the petitioner’s felony conviction for Possession of Marijuana for Sale under California Health & Safety Code §11359 rendered the petitioner removable, even though the conviction had been recalled and reclassified as a misdemeanor under California’s Proposition 64. The court explained that valid state convictions retain their immigration consequences even when modified or expunged for reasons of state public policy. (Prado v. Barr, 5/10/19)
What is the significance of this court decision?
Answer: If you are convicted of possession for sale of Marijuana, even if the case is reclassified as Misdemeanor or expunged in California, you are still removable under the Immigration law.
Question: Does this ruling make immigrants with same cases as above ineligible for relief under Immigration Law?
Answer: It will depend on your current status. There are waivers available in Immigration Court for this type of offenses. If you have no immigration status, then it will make you ineligible for immigration benefits. It is advisable to consult with an immigration attorney about your specific situation.
Question: With regards to Affidavit of Support for petitioners issued to their relatives, in what situation will they be accountable to the government?
Answer: As of May 28, 2019, the White House issued a memo directing relevant agencies to update/issue procedures, guidance, and regulations, as needed, to strictly enforce existing income-deeming and reimbursement laws when sponsored immigrants seek certain means-tested public benefits, such as SNAP, Medicaid, and TANF.
Question: What will happen now that the law is being strictly enforced?
Answer: It is very important to know what types of public benefits your relatives are using. If they fall under the means-tested public benefits, you may be liable to reimburse the government. It is recommended that you consult with an immigration attorney about your specific situation.
Note: This is not a legal advice.