The Brooklyn District Attorney’s (DA) 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 nonviolent offenses 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, told Caribbean Life on Monday that the Brooklyn DA’s Office made the announcement over the weekend at CGID’s “Immigration, the Law and You” townhall 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 convicted of nonviolent offenses 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 DA’s initiative is, therefore, of “monumental importance.”
“It forbears the double jeopardy of deportation as a consequence of the original conviction in specific circumstances and helps keep families together,” he said.
“Persons with such convictions for nonviolent offenses that are categorized by the federal government as crimes of ‘moral turpitude,’ who believe they are eligible for consideration under the aforementioned initiative should, through their attorneys, immediately apply to the Brooklyn DA’s for relief,” Burke urged.
He said eligible individuals may also contact him at (518-882-8270), Attorney Mark Pollard (646-208-9847), or Attorney Donnell Suares (917-414-6896) for further information.
“Under no circumstances should persons contact the DA’s office without counsel,” Burke stressed.
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