When the government wants to remove a non-citizen from the United States, the Department of Homeland Security, Office of the Chief Counsel initiates what are called Removal Proceedings against that person. Being placed in Removal Proceedings is what people commonly refer to as “being deported.” There are a variety of reasons why someone gets placed in Removal Proceedings. A few of the most common include: being out of lawful status; applying for some form of immigration benefit, having it denied, then being out of status; getting convicted of certain “deportable” offenses; attempting to smuggle someone into the country, etc.
You typically find out that you are being placed in Removal Proceedings by receiving a document called a Notice to Appear (“NTA”). The NTA will usually contain some allegations and will state that you are removable for some specified reason. These NTA’s can be very confusing for someone without any immigration law experience, but the most important thing to note is the date, time, and location where you are ordered to present yourself. This typically appears on the bottom portion of the page. Sometimes the NTA does not state a specific date and time, but rather states that another document will arrive with a specific date and time. If that is the case you can just wait for that subsequent document to arrive, but you would be better advised to call the immigration court periodically to find out if your case has been scheduled.
It is absolutely imperative that you appear for your court hearing. If you do not appear at court the Judge has the right to order you removed (deported) in absentia. This means that even though you are not present, your failure to appear without good cause will give the Judge the right to proceed without you. Since there is no one there to speak on your behalf, the Government lawyer’s request to have you removed is usually granted.
If you have recently missed your scheduled appointment in immigration court, and you have a compelling reason why you missed the hearing, call an immigration lawyer IMMEDIATELY, as it is sometimes possible to have the Judge reopen your case if you have a good reason for having missed the hearing.
What most people want to know is whether there is anything that can be done to fight against the removal (deportation). The answer to that question is, yes. Every case is specific, and a variety of factors, like your country of origin, the number of years you have been in this country, the manner in which you entered, the number of United States citizen family members you have here, etc. may make you eligible for certain forms of relief from removal (deportation). In other words, you may be able to stop the deportation.
Removal (deportation) defense is possibly the most complicated aspect of immigration law, and it is important to note that not all immigration lawyers are experienced in removal (deportation) defense. If you appear at your first hearing by yourself, you can request that the immigration judge give you an extension to find an attorney. Please note that the government will not provide you with a free attorney as they do in criminal court.
If you, or your family member is currently in Removal Proceedings, or if you have received a Notice to Appear before an immigration judge, contact our office immediately and schedule a free consultation with the attorney. Sherwin C. Carballo has extensive experience defending immigrants against Removal (deportation), and at your consultation he will be able to analyze your case and determine whether there is any likelihood of you being allowed to remain in the United States.
Call for a consultation now: (323) 592-9611