- Associated Press - Thursday, April 21, 2016

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California lawmakers are moving to protect legal immigrants convicted of low-level offenses from deportation.

The Senate voted 30-8 Thursday to retroactively change the definition of a misdemeanor, reducing the maximum sentence by one day to 364 days.

Federal law lets legal immigrants be deported if they are given a sentence of one year or more. But until 2015, California law defined misdemeanors as crimes qualifying for jail terms of a year or less.

SB1242 applies the current, shorter standard to offenses committed before 2015.

Democratic Sen. Ricardo Lara of Bell Gardens says the one-day difference between state and federal laws made thousands of Californians eligible for deportation.

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