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State changes criminal sentencing to avoid U.S. immigration law

There are tens of thousands of immigrants in Florida and the immigrant population is expected to continue to rise over time. Many immigrants in this state and elsewhere encounter challenges regarding their ability to remain in the United States, especially if they are convicted of misdemeanor crimes. Immigrant advocates have long said that U.S. immigration law in in great need of reform; that appears to be why lawmakers in another state have enacted changes to its criminal laws that they believe will have a positive affect on many immigrants.

The "One Day Act" was signed into law, and it may help approximately 9,000 immigrants remain in the United States every year who would otherwise be subject to deportation. In the past, anyone convicted of a misdemeanor crime that called for a 365-day sentence was automatically subjected to deportation proceedings. The new law has changed the maximum sentencing time for Class A misdemeanors to 364 days, which means automatic removal proceedings are no longer activated in such situations.

This new law gives immigration judges a lot more room to decide deportation matters on a case-by-case basis. Not everyone supports the new law, however. In fact, one political operative said he believes state officials should adhere to federal immigration laws and not try to avoid them by changing theircriminal laws. Immigrant advocates, on the other hand, are pleased that the bill was signed into law, as it may help thousands of immigrants avoid automatic removal.

Facing possible deportation is a stressful, often frightening experience for Florida immigrants and their families. U.S. immigration law is complex and staying updated on such issues is quite challenging. Any man or woman in need of guidance and support regarding legal status issues may request a consultation with an experienced immigration law attorney.

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