Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt and community stakeholders announced an immigration reform policy enacted by the district attorney’s office that promises sweeping reforms.
The policy was developed through a year-long process that engaged prosecutors with immigration attorneys, practitioners, defense attorneys, academics and community advocates in a unique collaborative policy development within the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office.
“Before these reforms, non-citizens charged with a crime could be returned to their home country and banned for life from returning for non-violent offenses, while a naturalized U.S. citizen charged with the same crime could not receive only a few months probation from a judge,” said prosecutor Mike Schmidt.
“In these circumstances, deportation does absolutely nothing to make us safer. Instead, it has the potential to break up families, jeopardize household incomes and spread generational inequality. These results make us less sure,” continued DA Schmidt.
Among the reforms proposed by the policy is to ensure that assistant district attorneys explicitly consider immigration consequences at all phases of a criminal prosecution, including arraignment, plea bargaining and conviction, in order to achieve an immigration-neutral case resolution to the extent possible. This will not provide non-citizens with more lenient sentences, but rather avoid the imposition of the additional consequence of deportation where consistent with public safety and the safety of the victim.
“We believe prosecutors should be involved in the real impact of their decisions, including how they affect a person’s immigration status,” said Erin McKee, co-director, Immigrant Rights Project, Oregon Justice Resource Center. across Oregon with immigration legal advice for their clients’ cases, we sometimes hear that an attorney doesn’t want to know anything about the client’s immigration status, let alone consider a safer plea in matters of immigration. It is not in the interests of justice. encouraged to see Multnomah County taking a different approach and urges other counties to follow their example.
He says the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office will not provide information to ICE for immigration enforcement purposes without a court order requiring them to do so, and will not cooperate. otherwise with ICE in any investigation or enforcement of federal immigration law. This addresses common concerns of victims or witnesses of crime who are also immigrants about reporting crimes and participating in criminal investigations and sends a message that all members of our community deserve justice.
Tony Defalco, Executive Director of Latino Network, said: “If the punishment for a crime for one person is a fine or community service and for another person it is separation from their family, then we are not promoting justice and we are not serving our community by keeping Oregon families together. This milestone from the District Attorney’s Office ensures that we are one step closer to real fair justice in Multnomah County and hopefully we can see other counties in Oregon adopt similar policies as well.
Source: Multnomah County Attorney