How Will California's Proposition 47 Affect Me as an Immigrant?

On Tuesday, California voters approved Proposition 47, the Criminal Sentences Misdemeanor Penalties Initiative Statute.

What does the new law do? Proposition 47:
  • Mandates misdemeanors instead of felonies for non-serious, nonviolent crimes, unless the defendant has prior convictions for murder, rape, certain sex offenses or certain gun crimes
  • Permits re-sentencing (after a thorough review of criminal history and risk assessment) for anyone currently serving a prison sentence for an offense that the law reduces to a misdemeanor 

What types of crimes does Proposition 47 cover? It covers the following crimes, when the value of any property in question does not exceed $950:
  • Shoplifting
  • Grand theft
  • Receiving stolen property
  • Forgery
  • Fraud
  • Writing a bad check
The law also covers crimes involving the personal use of illegal drugs, such as marijuana, in many instances.

How will Proposition 47 affect immigrants?
Under current immigration law, an intending immigrant will be inadmissible to the United States if he has been convicted of certain crimes. Even an immigrant who is already in the United States in lawful status can be deported if he is convicted of certain crimes after entry.
Some crimes, such as those the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) labels "aggravated felonies" based on theft and crimes involving "moral turpitude" must be punishable by at least one year in jail to result in inadmissibility or deportation. 
Prior to the passage of Proposition 47, many crimes falling into the categories listed above could have resulted in a conviction of one year or more, and therefore inadmissibility or deportation. However, with the passage of the new law, that is no longer the case. This change will result in fewer immigration issues for immigrants and intending immigrants.
For more information, please contact us at 415-496-9040 or to discuss your specific situation.