In the state of California, immigration issues have long remained at the forefront of many political debates. Now, Mark Zuckerberg, made famous for being the founder of Facebook, has thrown his hat in by creating “Fwd.us.,” an advocacy group for immigration reform. This announcement comes on the back of San Francisco State student Jose Vargas, who revealed just two years ago that he is an undocumented immigrant in the United States.
Many families are broken apart every day because of criminal charges levied against non-citizens living in California. Depending on the class of immigrant that an individual falls into (legal alien, undocumented or illegal aliens), they may face deportation, loss of Green Card, or loss of eligibility to become an American citizen. Many attorneys do not understand the intricacies of immigration law – which require knowledge of both criminal law and immigration law. Yet, it is important to understand these complexities in order to protect your rights.
For example, if you are a legal alien (a person who has a Green Card, a Visa, or is an asylee or refugee), there are only certain crimes for which you may face deportation. Among these are: crimes involving domestic violence, firearms, drugs, or “crimes of moral turpitude” (literally, crimes that are disgraceful morally). Remember, however, that being accused of a crime neither means that you are guilty of that crime nor that you will be convicted of it. Whether immigration reform occurs in the ways that Zuckerberg suggests, it is always important to understand what rights and privileges immigrants of any class enjoy under California law.