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Helping Immigrant Clients With Proposition 47 and Other Post-Conviction Legal Options

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The United States has always been a nation of immigrants. Today, nearly 40 million people in the U.S. were born in another country, and California is home to about one-fourth of this population (more than 10 million immigrants) One out of every four Californians was born in another country, and half of all California children live in a home with a foreign-born head of household.4 Immigrants in the U.S. may be undocumented, lawful permanent residents, or a variety of forms of status in between.

Regardless of their status, they become integral parts of our communities as they find work and housing, raise families and more. When an immigrant commits a crime, they are held accountable just like other Californians, but criminal convictions — even for low-level, nonviolent crimes — can have far more long-term consequences for immigrants than for citizens. In fact, in terms of public safety, it is important to consider the long-term impact of destabilizing families when someone is deported due to contact with the criminal justice system.

Since the historic passage of Proposition 47, we have been working with reentry organizations and Public Defender Offices around the state to educate communities about the benefits of record change and other clean slate remedies. One of the questions we are often asked is how Proposition 47 impacts immigrants.  We partnered up with Immigrant Legal Resource Center and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area to produce a toolkit to examine these issues.

 Helping Immigrant Clients with Proposition 47 and Other Post-Conviction Legal Options,” serves as a guide for legal service providers to explain Proposition 47, other post conviction legal options, and it includes the basics in:

  • Serving immigrant clients
  • Criminal record remedies and how these remedies can benefit immigrants
  • Providing Proposition 47 and clean slate services to immigrant clients

Felony convictions last a lifetime, and felony convictions for nonviolent, nonserious crimes, like those included in Proposition 47, can be a major barrier to housing, education, employment and have detrimental immigration consequences.  By giving people a chance to change old criminal records, Proposition 47 reduces these barriers, to help people rebuild their lives and keep families together.

Please share this toolkit with organizations working with immigrant communities across California. Click here to access the appendix.

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