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Immigration Consequences and Effective Assistance

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The Supreme Court decided Padilla v. Kentucky today.

It is our responsibility under the Constitution to ensure that no criminal defendant--whether a citizen or not--is left to the "mercies of incompetent counsel." Richardson, 397 U. S., at 771. To satisfy this responsibility, we now hold that counsel must inform her client whether his plea carries a risk of deportation. Our longstanding Sixth Amendment precedents, the seriousness of deportation as a consequence of a criminal plea, and the concomitant impact of deportation on families living lawfully in this country demand no less.
Criminal law practitioners, both prosecution and defense, are going to have to learn some immigration law, if they haven't already.

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Of course, the "concomitant impact" of a failure to deport those with perfectly valid convictions is not an issue. Interesting set of priorities. An immigrant commits a crime, and there is no worry about the reason why we deport criminals in the first place--public safety.

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