In the News

Terms of Deportation

Terms of Deportation

First publish: October 10, 2006

The New York Times, By Barry Kamins

To the Editor:

Re “Justices Ponder Conditions for Automatic Deportation” (news article, Oct. 4):

Not only can legal permanent residents living in New York (even ones who have lived here most of their lives) be deported for petty offenses such as turnstile jumping, many are not aware of this dire consequence when accepting a guilty plea.

If defendants were made aware of the possibility of deportation, they could choose to go to trial or perhaps even find an alternative plea that would not result in deportation. Inexplicably, New York State law requires only that judges notify defendants that there may be immigration consequences from convictions for felonies, creating the false belief that they are safe from deportation if pleading to a misdemeanor.

Legislation pending in New York State would require judges to warn all noncitizen defendants that there may be immigration consequences from a guilty plea, but it has been “dead on arrival” in the State Senate.

New York needs this law to ensure that immigrant New Yorkers can make informed choices when accepting a guilty plea.

Barry Kamins
New York City Bar Association