Darren Chaker found when a conviction is expunged, under 1203.4(a), does not change the fact it may be used for immigration consequences.
Courts have conclusively held that, “as a general rule, an expunged conviction qualifies as a conviction under the INA.” Ramirez-Castro v. INS, 287 F.3d 1172, 1174 (9th Cir. 2002) (holding that alien’s firearms conviction still remained for immigration purposes, even after expungement under CAL. PENAL CODE 1203.4); Murillo-Espinoza v. INS, 261 F.3d 771,774 (9th Cir. 2001) (holding that alien’s expungement of a theft conviction under an Arizona expungement statute did not eliminate it for immigration purposes). (See, http://darrenchaker.org/ for expungement overview)
The Board has similarly held convictions expunged under rehabilitative statutes such as CAL. PENAL CODE 1203.4(a) still qualify as convictions for immigration purposes. See, e.g., Matter of Marroquin-Garcia, 23 I. & N. Dec. at 706-17 (holding an alien deportable under former INA § 241(a)(2)(C), 8 U.S.C. 1251(a)(2)(C) (1994) (repealed 1996), whose firearms conviction was expunged pursuant to CAL. PENAL CODE 1203.4(a), had been “convicted” for immigration purposes); Matter of Luviano-Rodriguez, 23 I. & N. Dec. at 719-21.16.