Pre-req.: Immigration Law, Immigration Practicum or Immigration Law field experience; co-req.: Ethics
Highly Recommended: Criminal Law in Practice Background
The changes in immigration law and practice over the past decade have inextricably tied the practices of immigration and criminal law. In fact, in many criminal cases the “collateral” immigration consequences of deportation are the most serious for the defendant. Because it is so difficult to undue a plea to a removable offense through post conviction relief, it is extremely important that criminal defense attorneys inform the defendants of the immigration consequences of a plea rather than rely on the possibility of relief. Moreover, in the Paredez decision, the New Mexico Supreme Court has effectively obligated criminal defense attorneys to determine the immigration status of their clients and if their client is a noncitizen, the attorney must advise them of the specific immigration consequences of pleading guilty. Unfortunately, most lawyers who encounter noncitizens in the criminal justice system are ill-equipped to fulfill this obligation. Law School Credit
The course will be offered for four credits, and will be graded on a “CR”, “C-”, ”D+”, “D”, “D-“, “F” basis. Although the course includes a field experience component, it does not count toward the required six credit hours of “in-house” clinic. Classroom component
Students will be required to attend an “Immigration and Crimes” intensive training on January 11th and 12th. In addition to this training, the class will meet for two hours each week. Instruction will include substantive lectures on immigration and criminal law practice, as well as a special focus on the relationship of the New Mexico Criminal Statute to the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Field Experience Component
Students will be assigned to the Bernalillo County Public Defender’s Office for field experience work. The field experience will consist of ten hours per week. The supervision of the students’ field work will be provided by assistant public defenders. These attorneys will work with students to assure that the students have meaningful field work each week. Students will assist public defenders with research on the immigration consequences of common offenses and, in some cases, provide an analysis of immigration consequences for particular clients. They may also have the opportunity to assist in the negotiation of plea agreements based on their immigration consequences analysis. The precise work conducted will depend on the clients who need representation and the posture of their cases.