Articles Posted in Immigration Law

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In 1997, Martin Ramirez was arrested and charged with possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and two other misdemeanors. He appeared in metropolitan court for a custody arraignment two days later and pleaded guilty to all three charges on the advice of his public defender. In 2009, Ramirez learned that his guilty pleas in 1997 rendered him "inadmissable to the United States." Ramirez filed a petition for writ of error coram nobis in the district court, seeking to vacate his metropolitan court guilty pleas on the basis of ineffective assistance of counsel. In "New Mexico v. Paredez," (101 P.3d 799), the New Mexico Supreme Court held that a criminal defense attorney who represents a noncitizen client "must advise that client of the specific immigration consequences of pleading guilty" to pending charges. An attorney’s failure to do so will be ineffective assistance of counsel if the client is prejudiced. The question in this case was whether the holding in Paredez applied retroactively and, if it did, whether Ramirez has a claim for ineffective assistance of counsel that could justify withdrawal of his pleas. The Court held that Paredez applied retroactively to 1990, the year that the Court began to prohibit courts from accepting a guilty plea from a defendant without: (1) ascertaining that the defendant understood that a conviction may have an effect on the defendant’s immigration status; (2) obtaining an affidavit from the defendant that the judge personally advised the defendant of the possible effect of a conviction on the defendant’s immigration status; and (3) obtaining a certification from the defendant’s attorney that the attorney had conferred with the defendant and explained in detail the contents of the affidavit signed by the defendant. These requirements were not new in 1997 at the time Ramirez pleaded guilty, and they were "designed to ensure a guilty plea is made knowingly and voluntarily." View "Ramirez v. New Mexico" on Justia Law

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Jesus Gonzalez is an undocumented immigrant, coming to this country from Mexico for the first time in 2003 and again in 2005. In early February of 2006, he was hired by Performance Painting, Inc. as a painter's helper. By all accounts, Gonzalez was a good employee and worked without incident until August 31, 2006. On that day, he fell off a ladder, injuring his shoulder. As a result of the injury, Gonzalez was temporarily totally disabled and unable to work. The injury required multiple surgeries and months of physical therapy. While all workers are encouraged to return to work when medically feasible, federal law may preclude some employers from extending rehire offers to undocumented workers once they learn of their status. Because an offer to rehire must be a legitimate offer, the Supreme Court held that employers who cannot demonstrate such good faith compliance with federal law in the hiring process cannot use their workers' undocumented status as a defense to continue payment of modifier benefits under the Workers' Compensation Act. View "Gonzalez v. Performance Painting, Inc." on Justia Law