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Punishing ImmigrantsPolicy, Politics, and Injustice$
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Charis E. Kubrin, Marjorie S. Zatz, and Ramiro Martínez

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814749029

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814749029.001.0001

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Unearthing and Confronting the Social Skeletons of Immigration Status in Our Criminal Justice System

Unearthing and Confronting the Social Skeletons of Immigration Status in Our Criminal Justice System

Chapter:
(p.91) 5 Unearthing and Confronting the Social Skeletons of Immigration Status in Our Criminal Justice System
Source:
Punishing Immigrants
Author(s):

Evelyn H. Cruz

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814749029.003.0005

This chapter reviews the due process protections afforded to noncitizens in criminal proceedings and the impact of current practices on immigrant communities. It discusses two examples: the federal criminal prosecutions of undocumented workers in Postville, Iowa, and the related experiences of criminal defense attorneys in Arizona helping noncitizen defendants. It shows that noncitizens without immigration status often carry a sense of guilt arising from their unlawful status, which affects their choices and interactions with criminal courts. This sense of guilt is amplified by inequalities in charges, punishment, and redemption in criminal proceedings. Noncitizen criminal defendants are not the only ones suspicious of the criminal justice system; the recent upsurge of immigration enforcement has led to an increased distrust of the U.S. justice system by immigrant communities in general. Latino confidence in the criminal justice system has declined as policies that fuse criminal and immigration laws grow. For these reasons, both attorneys and the courts must be sensitive to preserving the due process rights of vulnerable populations including noncitizens. The recent Padilla v. Kentucky decision supporting noncitizens' right to meaningful representation will bolster the trust of noncitizens in legal institutions by requiring attorneys to acknowledge the primacy immigration status plays in the decision making of noncitizen criminal defendants.

Keywords:   illegal immigrants, criminal justice system, criminal defendants, Latinos, noncitizens, legal representation, Padilla v. Kentucky, criminal prosecution, due process

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