The March 2003 KBA Bench & Bar is devoted to immigration law in recognition of the special considerations of representing immigrants. F. J. Capriotti III ( firstname.lastname@example.org) and Richard M. Ginsburg published in the Oregon Professional Liability Fund newsletter “In Brief” an excellent checklist for obtaining the key information required for immigrant representation with special emphasis on criminal matters. It is reprinted here with permission.
If your client’s case involves an immigrant issue, gather and prepare the following information.
- Name and all aliases.
- Date and place of birth.
- Native language and level of English fluency.
- Summary of immigration history (including first/last entry to the United States, and prior INS arrests/deportations).
- A copy of your client’s:
- Passport (all pages)
- “Green card” (front and back) (this card proves that an alien is a lawful permanent resident)
- I-94 arrival card (front and back – placed in the passport at the time of arrival)
- Any “other” immigration related documents.
- Information on family, especially parents, children, or spouse who were born in the United States or possess a green card (include ages and birth places) and copies of their immigration related documents.
- Any immigration documents filed for the client by family members and/or employers and INS receipts and notices.
- If your client has a green card, when and how he or she got it. (Note: This information appears in different places depending on when the green card was issued. Some cards have the code “ADJ DATE,” others have it in reverse-date format such as: 980114.)
- If your client is or has been a nonimmigrant (such as student, tourist, etc.), list periods and any violations of status or overstays.
- A list of the crime(s) the client is accused of, including statutory citations, and copies of all charging documents and police reports.
- A list of the possible crimes (including violations) you are considering as a plea for your client.
- A list of the sentencing possibilities for pleas you are considering. Include information on statutory maximum sentence possible and years probable (including estimates of years of actual incarceration and year of suspension/probation).
- If the client has already been convicted, or has prior convictions, provide statutory citations, charging documents, police reports, and relevant orders/judgment/sentence. If not listed on the documents, also provide information on whether this crime is classified as a violation and/or infraction and/or misdemeanor and/or felony, including statutory maximum and actual sentences imposed.
- Have any of the crimes (including the current crimes) been committed against a spouse, live-in partner or person with whom the client shares a child in common or has the client ever been found to have violated a restraining order?
- Has the client ever admitted having committed a crime (or the essential elements of a crime) to a government employee, or under oath to anyone?
- Has the client ever had any other problems or encounters with the law?
- Is the client being detained and is there an INS hold?