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Then finally, you mentioned that criminal defense attorney could find themselves in a precarious situation if another attorney files an ineffective assistance of counsel claim because the criminal defense attorney either: didn’t do the investigation with respect to the immigration consequences himself, or make sure that their client had an opportunity to go see an expert, like myself, in this field to figure out what are the immigration consequences and to try to determine what a safe haven is for their client.

Interviewer: So the defense attorney had better explore all avenues better because they themselves could face legal problems if they don’t address these issues properly and show that they got the right help. Is that what you’re saying?

Ron: Yes, as I mentioned in the beginning of this interview: There is recent case law that indicates that a criminal defense attorney has the obligation to make sure that their clients know what the immigration consequences are. Now, that doesn’t mean that the immigration attorney becomes an expert overnight in this field. They certainly could ask a crimmigration expert to come up with a solution and I do get calls from many, many criminal defense attorneys asking for written opinions as to safe havens that their clients can plead to and the results if we can’t find a safe haven.

Foreign National Client

Interviewer: I think we have just identified the number one reason attorney’s should view this publication.

Ron: Yes, that’s why I’m getting the calls. There is a basic form of analysis for immigration consequences and, generally speaking, each significant criminal event and, again, that’s each offense, that’s each plea, that’s each sentence, must be examined to determine what, if any, immigration damage it causes. After each of those criminal events is listed, counsel has to seek a solution either in criminal or in immigration court to each problem.

Issues the Defense Attorney Must Analyze in Defending the Foreign National Client

And here’s sort of a basic flow. The first issue is deportability and the question is: “Does the criminal case make the client deportable?” The second is inadmissibility and we’ll get into that later on. “Does the criminal case make the client inadmissible?” Then relief: “Does the client have relief from deportability or inadmissibility in immigration court?” Then finally, the keyword, “safe haven”. “Is there a safe haven or a target disposition of the criminal case realistically available in order to avoid any adverse immigration consequences?”

What Are the Goals When Defending a Foreign National Client?

Interviewer: As an attorney, we have to make a plan, but what are the overall goals?

Avenues of Defense


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