In Advising Noncitizen Defendants on the Immigration Consequences of Criminal Convictions: The Ethical Answer for the Criminal Defense Lawyer, the Court, and the Sixth Amendment, Yolanda Vázquez presciently argued in the
days before Padilla v. Kentucky that
“an attorney’s ethical and moral duty is to advise his client about the immigration consequences of a criminal conviction.” 20 Berkeley La Raza Law Journal 31 (2010).
Despite the fact that part of the discussion Vázquez presents (especially parts II and III) has been affected by Padilla, this article should be of interest to crImmigration.com readers if for no other reason than that Vásquez provides a wonderful primer on crimmigration. In Part I, Vázquez traces the evolution of the convergence of criminal law and immigration law from the early 1900s to recent years. I particularly liked that she gives special attention to the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, the federal statute that introduced the aggravated felony category into immigration law, and its aftermath.
One interesting fact that jumped out is the cost of imprisoning individuals charged with violating an immigration law. According to Vázquez, “the amount of money spent on the detention of individuals for immigration violations alone has increased from approximately $77 million in 1995 to $483 million per year in 2008.” This is impressive growth, especially in today’s political climate where politicians of all stripes are ostensibly concerned about government expenditures. Of course, the fact that the recently enacted federal budget identifies the exact minimum number of immigration prison beds that DHS must maintain raises some doubt (if more were needed) about politicians’ actual concern about governmental expenditures.