From the Daily News:
Immigrants with criminal records who are desperate to stay in the U.S. are flooding courts across the city with pleas to have old convictions tossed, the Daily News has learned.
A revved-up effort by the feds to rid the country of ex-cons is sowing fear that a decades-old petty theft or drug-dealing case could mean a one-way ticket out of New York.
Noncitizens are bombarding judges with requests to have convictions vacated on the grounds they were never told that pleading guilty to a minor crime could lead to deportation.
Among those who have filed petitions is Carlos Sanchez, who was 17 in 1991 when he punched a man in the face and stole his parka during a fight a few blocks from his Sunnyside, Queens, home.
The following year, he pleaded guilty to attempted assault and robbery and spent 18 months in an upstate prison.
After getting out of prison, Sanchez, now 37, stayed out of trouble for 17 years - holding jobs as a welder and construction worker. He's married and has a 3-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son.
In May, the Department of Homeland Security notified him that it was seeking to send him back to Spain, which he left with his parents as a youth.