Due to a glitch between state and federal law, a misdemeanor in Utah can be treated like a felony for immigration purposes if it carries a potential sentence of a full year. This glitch results in harsh consequences for legal immigrants, including green card holders, refugees, and victims of domestic violence.
Rep. Eric Hutchings (R-Kearns) has proposed a small change that will remedy this glitch. HB 244 Misdemeanor Sentencing Timeline provides that misdemeanors carry a 364-day sentence and felonies carry a possible sentence of 365 days or more, preventing automatic deportation over simple, non-violent crimes.
HB 244 will likely get a vote on the House floor TOMORROW! ASK YOUR REPRESENTATIVES TO VOTE YES ON HB 244!
The bill received a favorable recommendation in the House Judiciary Committee and has moved forward to the House 3rd Reading Calendar.