Yesterday, the Supreme Court decided 7-2 that immigrants who had unintentionally plead guilty of minor crimes would still be deportable. As David Savage of the LATimes " target="_self">reports, three years ago the Court granted some relief from deportation to immigrants who had not been advised by their lawyers during criminal trials about the immigration consequences of their pleas. But the case decided today stated that that relief would not apply to cases before 2010.
This case is illustrative of a growing field of law called "crimmigration" , a class now taught in many law schools. As immigration law expert Stephen Legomsky has argued the increasing conflation of immigration and criminal law has worked to the disadvantage of many immigrants charged with crimes because they lack the same level of procedure protections in the immigration context as they would if they were being tried on a purely criminal matter. For example, if an immigrant is in a criminal proceding, he/she would be granted a right to counsel at public expense. But if the same immigrant is fighting their deportation or removal (classified under civil law), they must pay for legal representation or find pro bono representation.
Incidentally, the Supreme Court decides an average of two immigration cases each term.