Relief for C’bean immigrants facing deportation for some non-violent crimes

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The Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office has announced a major initiative that could lead to the reduction or removal of criminal convictions for Caribbean and other immigrants who entered into plea agreements and have convictions for non-violent offences that subject them to deportation, according to the Brooklyn-based Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy (CGID).

CGID’s Guyanese-born president Rickford Burke, an international law consultant, said Monday that the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office made the announcement over the weekend at CGID’s ‘Immigration, the Law and You’ town hall forum at the New Life Seven Day Adventist (SDA) Church in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn.

“This is a major development that begins immediate relief to thousands of Caribbean and other immigrants, who are either green card holders, undocumented or out of status, who entered plea deals, which have a deleterious impact on their immigration status,” Burke said.

“Thousands of immigrants, who have been convinced of nonviolent offences for which they rightly suffered serious, court-imposed penalties and paid their debt to society, also face deportation,” he added. “However, the law and society never intended to inflict the double jeopardy of deportation as a second punishment for the same crime.”

Burke said the District Attorney’s initiative is, therefore, of “monumental importance”.

“It forebears the double jeopardy of deportation as a consequence of the original conviction in specific circumstances and helps keep families together,” he said.

Burke said individuals with convictions for non-violent offences that are categorised by the federal government as crimes of “moral turpitude”, who believe they are eligible for consideration under the initiative, should, through their attorneys, immediately apply to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office for relief.

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