looking at borderWhat We Do

The CPCS Immigration Impact Unit (IIU) is available to assist all Massachusetts court-appointed attorneys understand and address the collateral immigration issues a client faces. The IIU serves as an expert resource for attorneys statewide who are appointed to represent indigent clients including in criminal, delinquency, youthful offender, child welfare, mental health, sexually dangerous person and sex offender registry cases, as well as related appeals and post-conviction matters.

In criminal matters, the IIU assists appointed counsel to advise noncitizens about the specific immigration consequences of criminal dispositions and to mitigate those consequences where possible. Often, the most serious concern for a noncitizen client is the impact that a criminal disposition will have on his immigration status. In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the failure of a criminal defense attorney to advise a client about the impact of a criminal disposition on his immigration status constituted ineffective assistance of counsel. Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U.S. 356 (2010). Since then, the Supreme Judicial Court has decided a number of significant cases clarifying the extent of the duty in Massachusetts. A priority of the IIU is to help defense attorneys fulfill their Sixth Amendment duty as defined by this body of law.

In all other matters, the IIU is available for general consultation to understand a client’s immigration status, to assist with referrals to immigration attorneys, and to respond to immigration-related inquiries as they arise in particular cases.

In addition to advice in individual cases, the IIU publishes practice advisories and case notes on significant legal issues. We engage in systemic litigation where due process and constitutional rights of indigent noncitizen criminal defendants in Massachusetts are affected. We also provide trainings throughout Massachusetts on a range of immigration-related topics, including the immigration consequences of criminal conduct. To request a training, please contact us.

Below you’ll find a collection of links to resources, including some developed by the IIU and others maintained by third parties.

IIU Intake Forms

Resources for Clients

Resources for Attorneys

Office Location/ Contact Us

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