This bill reduces the maximum sentence for misdemeanor offenses by one day, from 365 to 364 days, in an effort to protect immigrants from unnecessary Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) involvement. Right now, if an undocumented person in Connecticut is convicted of a misdemeanor that carries a sentence of 365 days, they could be referred to ICE and face deportation. In Connecticut, this kind of sentence could come from something as small as failure to appear in court for a motor vehicle violation because of a bad address. Tearing someone away from the country they call home based solely on a single misdemeanor conviction does not reflect Connecticut’s values. It is a life-altering, disproportionate punishment that does not fit in a modern justice system. Other states have passed similar legislation. California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington have all passed legislation that similarly helps undocumented people avoid consequences that are disproportionate to their actions when they are caught in the criminal justice system because of a misdemeanor conviction. Connecticut should follow their example with this bill.





Bill number

H.B. 5544



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