NY Legislature Passes Important Protection for Immigrants Convicted of Minor Crimes

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The New York legislature included an important protection for immigrants in the newly passed budget. The legislation shortens the longest amount of time someone convicted of a misdemeanor can be imprisoned from 365 days to 364. This may seem like an insignificant reduction, but it may be crucial in the life of an immigrant.

Under immigration law, a felony conviction can be devastating. It could even lead to deportation for a permanent resident. New York’s Class A misdemeanors carry a maximum sentence of up to 365 days in jail. Under immigration law, that makes the New York misdemeanor into a Federal felony. By reducing the maximum sentence by one day, the state legislature insured that people convicted of a misdemeanor are not treated like felons.

The fight to shave one day off misdemeanor convictions was initiated by the Immigrant Defense Project (IDP) and the Cardozo Law School Immigrant Justice Clinic. It was supported by the New York Immigration Coalition and many organizations from around the state.

You can find more information on this legislation here.


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