When single mother Silvia Ocampo was deported to Mexico after more than twenty years in the United States, San Diego lawmakers took notice. Ocampo was deported following a conviction, and lawmakers hope to change the laws to offer post-conviction relief to immigrants. As of right now, ICE can deport anyone who breaks the law. State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher and others hope to change the law so those who commit nonviolent crimes won’t be subject to deportation. This is an effort to keep families together.
Law enforcement charged Ocampo and her husband with document fraud. The charges involved an incident that occurred in 2009 regarding a driver’s license application. Her husband was deported because of the fraud, and she pleaded guilty. She ended up with a felony on her record but made an agreement with immigration officials. The officials let her stay in the country to care for her children. She is the mother of three children, two of which are minors. They are also United States citizens, so they don’t face possible deportation.
In order to stay in the country, she had to check in with immigration authorities on a regular basis, which she has done. She took her eight-year-old daughter to her last check-in with immigration authorities and never returned home. Now, there is some confusion about who will care for her children, especially the eight-year-old. She is disabled and requires a high level of care.
Can a New Law Help?
Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher hopes to help immigrants with “Silvia’s Law.” This law would provide post-conviction relief to nonviolent offenders. She hopes to move the bill through the legislature so immigrants can stay in the country if they’ve committed nonviolent offenses. That would allow people like Silvia to remain with their children if they’ve been convicted of a nonviolent crime.
Until that law is passed through, there will not be any protection for immigrants who have been convicted of a crime. ICE can deport anyone who has a record. That includes parents who have children who are United States citizens. The children don’t have to go back to Mexico, but their parents do. That creates a lot of confusion for both the parents and the children.
Take Post-Conviction Relief into Your Own Hands
Don’t wait for the law to help you. If you need post-conviction relief, get an attorney to help. Attorneys can fight on your behalf and help the law work for you. It is hard to navigate the legal system yourself. It was set up for attorneys and judges – not for the common person. Unless you have a law degree, you will benefit from having someone in your corner. Don’t let a conviction ruin your entire life. Get help so you can go on living your life in the best way possible.
It doesn’t matter if you are an immigrant or a natural born citizen. An attorney will work tirelessly to help you get the outcome you want.