In a 7-2 vote, the United States Supreme Court held in Padilla v. Kentucky, on March 31, 2010, that aliens who had not received information regarding the immigration consequences of a criminal conviction or had received incorrect information about such consequences could seek to have their prior convictions reopened and vacated. In Padilla, the court held that the criminal defense counsel had a duty to competently represent a client, and that failure to warn or properly inform the client of the immigration consequences of a criminal conviction or a plea amounted to ineffective assistance of counsel. This would also reflect, one would assume on the advice given by immigration counsel to clients with criminal convictions with regard to filing of applications, waivers, or any other benefits under the immigration laws.
I have posted a detailed article on my website, www.immigration-america.com, on the criminal convictions which carry deportable or excludable consequences under the Immigration and Nationality Act. Please review that detailed article for a more in-depth analysis of the law and practical methods for dealing with the Padilla decision.
Copyright Farhad Sethna, Attorney, 2010