Denver DA Office Policy Regarding Immigration

Decided April 23, 2019
As a lawyer who specializes in crimmigration (the intersection between criminal law and immigration), it is always frustrating when a deputy district attorney tells me that they cannot consider the immigration consequences of a criminal conviction because it would be unfair to treat people differently. The truth is that NOT considering the immigration consequences of a crime when offering a plea deal is treating people differently. This memo from the Denver District Attorney is a common sense fix to this misconceived logic set out in a thoughtful manner.

Unless these immigration effects are taken into consideration by deputy district attorneys in appropriate circumstances, some defendants will be exposed to direct consequences that were not intended by the prosecutor in light of the facts and significance of the criminal offense and the background and history of the defendant. Consideration of the impact of consequences, particularly in the context of immigration consequences, is consistent with the duty of all prosecutors to pursue justice by prosecuting the guilty, protecting the innocent, and ensuring that the punishment fits the crime.

Hopefully more district attorney offices throughout Colorado and the United States will catch on and take lesson from our Denver’s DA.

Denver Immigration Judge Trujillo (Women as Social Group)

Decided April 23, 2019
An immigrant may be eligible for asylum if he or she can establish a credible fear of persecution on the account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. The meaning of “particular social group” has been and will continue to be a cause for extensive litigation. The courts have not provided clear guidance and the more they attempt to define the phrase, the more convoluted the notion becomes. Whether gender alone could constitute a particular social group has been a question of much intrigue and little answers. Recent developments in the law might suggest that the answer is no – contrary to logic – but Denver Immigration Judge Eileen Trujillo took a bold and common sense approach to the question finding that “Mexican women” are a particular social group.

The unfortunate reality is that many countries marginalize women as second-class citizens. Sometimes this occurs through laws that grant men and women different rights, and in other instances religion or long-established cultural traditions relegate women to inferior social statuses. Where a society institutionalizes laws that permit violence against women or holds women and men in unequal standing, there is no reason why gender or sex should not align with the definition of a “refugee” and be treated as tantamount to the broad, protected classes of race, religion, and political opinion.

In this political climate, with Trump’s war on immigration ongoing, it is heartening to know a judge with such independence, strength and intellect at our local Denver immigration court.