Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed into law a measure aimed at reducing deportations of legal immigrants who are convicted of minor crimes.
The legislation by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) reduces the maximum possible misdemeanor sentence by one day from one year to 364 days. It addresses concern that federal law allows legal immigrants to be deported if they are convicted of a crime and given a sentence of one year or more.
The measure will reduce the number of noncitizen families who are legal residents but who are broken up when one member is deported for a crime that is not a felony, Lara said.
“As a result of the differences between state and federal sentencing laws, some families are torn apart every year due to minor crimes, such as writing a bad check,” Lara said. “By lowering the sentence by one day, those offenses that California considers misdemeanors would be treated as such and no longer trigger immigration consequences.”
SB 1310 was opposed by a few Republican lawmakers who said people charged with identity theft, cruelty to animals and child neglect could benefit by escaping deportations.
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