Court: Im­mi­grants can be de­ported for pot crime

The Tribune (SLO) - - Local -

A fed­eral ap­peals court has ruled that Cal­i­for­nia’s le­gal­iza­tion of mar­i­juana doesn’t protect im­mi­grants from de­por­ta­tion if they were con­victed of pot crimes be­fore vot­ers ap­proved the new law in 2016.

The Ninth U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals in San Fran­cisco de­nied on Fri­day the ap­peal of a woman who was con­victed in 2014 of pos­ses­sion of mar­i­juana for sale.

Clau­dia Prado, who is in Or­ange County jail fac­ing de­por­ta­tion, got a state court to re­duce her felony conviction to a mis­de­meanor under the new law. Prado then ap­plied for po­lit­i­cal asy­lum, ar­gu­ing that she should not be re­moved because she was no longer guilty of a felony crime.

How­ever, the ap­peals court said in a 3-0 ruling that fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion law does not recognize the state’s de­ci­sion to re­clas­sify a valid conviction. The court also said her conviction was re­clas­si­fied for pol­icy reasons, but it was not over­turned or ex­punged from the records.

“Because Prado does not chal­lenge the va­lid­ity of her conviction, it re­tains its im­mi­gra­tion con­se­quences,” the ruling said.

Prado en­tered the U.S. from Mex­ico with her par­ents in 1972, when she was 6 months old. She be­came a le­gal res­i­dent in 1980.

An email mes­sage seek­ing com­ment from her at­tor­ney has not been returned.

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