Pennsylvania readers who regularly follow immigration news likely know how complex immigration laws are in the United States, as well as how often they change. It is challenging for those who have emigrated from other countries of origin to stay updated on such laws to make sure their legal statuses are not at risk. Although all immigration law is governed at the federal level, state lawmakers in another state have made changes to its criminal laws that may have significant impact on the immigrant population regarding deportation.

In the past, those who were convicted of misdemeanors that called for a possible 365-day jail sentence were automatically subject to deportation proceedings. The new law is called the “One Day Act” and has changed the maximum sentencing time to 364 days for Class A misdemeanors, meaning removal proceedings are no longer automatically activated.  Immigrant advocates say this may help 9,000 immigrants remain in the United States every year.

One political operative said state officials should mind their own business and leave immigration issues to the federal government. However, an immigrant advocate speaking noted that federal immigration laws are in much need of reform. Therefore, if lawmakers can enact laws at the state level that will have a positive effect on immigration issues, then they are right to do so.

Any number of issues may prompt legal status challenges for a Pennsylvania immigrant. In addition to misdemeanor convictions, there may be problems with a visa or green card, as well as issues prompted by lack of documentation. An experienced immigration law attorney can provide much-needed guidance and support in all aspects of the immigration process, especially situations where someone is facing deportation.