Articles Posted in Immigration Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeal upholding the ruling of the superior court denying the requests of Bianka M., a minor, for an order placing her in her mother’s sole custody and for findings that would enable her to seek “special immigrant juvenile” (SIJ) status under federal immigration law, holding that the superior court erred in concluding that it could not issue either a custody order or findings relevant to SIJ status unless Bianka first established a basis for exercising personal jurisdiction over her father and joined him as a party to the action. Bianka entered the United States unaccompanied and without prior authorization. In a family court action, Bianka asked to be placed in the sole custody of her mother, who had left Honduras for the United States years before, and sought findings enabling her to seek special immigrant juvenile status, alleging that her father, who resided in Honduras, abandoned her. The superior court denied the requests. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the superior court erred in requiring Bianka’s father to be joined as a party in her parentage action seeking SIJ findings because he received adequate notice and took no steps to participate; and (2) the action may proceed regardless of Bianka’s perceived immigration-related motivations for filing the action. View "Bianka M. v. Superior Court" on Justia Law

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Defendant, a Canadian citizen, pleaded guilty to a drug possession charge. Defendant filed a motion to withdraw the plea on grounds of mistake or ignorance. The trial court denied the motion, concluding that it was insufficient because Defendant had received the standard statutory advisement that a criminal conviction may have the consequences of deportation. The Court of Appeal affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that receipt of the standard statutory advisement that a criminal conviction “may” have adverse immigration consequences does not bar a noncitizen defendant from seeking to withdraw a guilty plea on that basis. Remanded to permit the trial court to determine whether Defendant has shown good cause for withdrawing his plea. View "People v. Patterson" on Justia Law

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Pursuant to the terms of a plea bargain, Defendant, who was an eighteen-year-old citizen of Mexico at the time, pleaded guilty to the sale or transportation of marijuana. After completing his probation, Defendant sought an adjustment in status to lawful permanent residency. Defendant's application was denied because of his conviction, and removal proceedings were initiated against him. Defendant filed a motion to vacate his conviction pursuant to Cal. Penal Code 1016.5, asserting that had he known the immigration consequences of pleading guilty, he would have rejected the plea offer. The only issue adjudicated at the hearing on Defendant's motion was whether he would have received a more favorable outcome had he rejected the plea bargain. The trial court denied the motion without considering the possibility Defendant might have rejected the plea bargain even if it were not reasonably probable he would have received a more favorable outcome. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) relief is available under section 1016.5 if the defendant establishes he would have rejected the existing bargain to accept or attempt to negotiate another; and (2) the trial court applied the incorrect test for prejudice in this case. Remanded. View "People v. Martinez" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, an unauthorized alien, was injured while working for his employer (Defendant) and was later was laid off during Defendant’s seasonal reduction of workers. Plaintiff sued, alleging that Defendant violated the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) by failing to provide reasonable accommodations for his disability and by retaliating against him for filing a workers’ compensation claim. During discovery, Defendant learned that Plaintiff had misrepresented to Defendant his eligibility under federal law to work in the United States. The trial court granted summary judgment for Defendant, and the Court of Appeal affirmed, holding (1) Plaintiff’s action was barred by the doctrines of after-acquired evidence and unclean hands; and (2) the application for those doctrines was not precluded by S.B. 1818, which extends state law employee protections and remedies to all individuals regardless of immigration status. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) S.B. 1818 is not preempted by federal immigration law; and (2) the doctrines of after-acquired evidence and unclean hands are not complete defenses to a worker’s claims under California’s FEHA. View "Salas v. Sierra Chem. Co." on Justia Law