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US immigration law: Change to law may help protect immigrants

Being an undocumented immigrant can be difficult in today's world. Many struggle to provide for their families, which can sometimes lead a person to break the law. Those offenses sometimes connect to U.S. immigration law. In the past, undocumented immigrants who commit certain crimes in New York were subject to deportation. Governor Andrew Cuomo has changed a key portion of the state's Penal Law, which he says will save thousands of people from the threat of deportation.

Previously, the law stated that an undocumented immigrant who was sentenced to a year or more in jail could be deported. Governor Cuomo decided to change the maximum jail sentence for certain, less serious offenses. Those offenses in question are defined as Class A misdemeanors and include crimes such as shoplifting, false advertising and writing bad checks. The governor changed the maximum sentence for these crimes from serving 365 days in jail to just 364 days.

The Immigration Defense project supported the measure, saying that it will protect New York residents from immigration-related punishments. The amendment still allows for deportation for more serious Class A misdemeanor crimes, such as child abuse or offenses relating to guns. Lawmakers also say that the judicial system will still be permitted to utilize discretion when handling defendants who are immigrants.

Every person in this country, no matter his or her legal status, is afforded certain rights. Anyone who has questions about U.S. immigration law may wish to consult a New York immigration attorney. A professional who is dedicated to this area of the law can serve as a valuable asset.

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