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Drug Conviction Reform: Governor Brown Signs AB 208 Into Law Providing Much Needed Protection For Im

California has a process known as deferred entry of judgment that allows individuals who have been convicted of a drug offense to seek counseling and treatment rather than being subjected to prison time. Individuals under deferred entry of judgment proceed by pleading guilty to their drug offense and automatically attending drug counseling. After completion of treatment, individuals will be rewarded with a clean slate on their record. Immigrants however, are at risk of deportation with a guilty plea and may not have the opportunity to seek treatment. If a non-citizen is successful through deferred entry of judgment, there is still a risk for later deportation as drug offenses often linger under federal law.

Governor Brown signed into law AB 208 to allow immigrants to attend drug rehabilitation without fear of deportation. These drug crimes consist of misdemeanor offences and will give immigrants the opportunity to receive the help they need without the anxiety of family separation. Immigrants will be able to attend pre-trial division programs rather than pleading guilty and having their cases discarded. AB 208 allows immigrants to thoroughly assure their safety of deportation. This action will not only serve to aid the country's drug reform, but will allow immigrants receive the drug help that may not otherwise be readily available to them elsewhere.

Immigration attorneys believe that this action in California is a step in the right direction towards equality within immigration policy and the drug reform. Angie Junck, Supervising Attorney at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center provided commentary on the new action; “Governor Brown’s commitment to protecting California families and supporting policies that defend against the Trump Administration’s anti-immigrant zeal is needed now more than ever. With AB 208 in effect, California residents who live with substance abuse and incur certain drug charges now have the opportunity to complete a drug program without the risk of deportation and permanent family separation. The Immigrant Legal Resource Center will continue working to keep families together by advancing policies that ensure everyone’s fair and equal treatment under the law.” If you have any questions regarding the AB 208 process, do not hesitate to contact Attorney Nicholas Mireles at


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