Being threatened with deportation is one of the worst possible scenarios for any foreigner in the United States. The implications are dire whether you’re a lawful or undocumented immigrant. It’s especially critical if you’re in the US for asylum and it’s dangerous to return to your country of origin. It’s even worse for immigrant families because they may suffer through traumatic separations.
If you are ever served with papers indicating that you should appear before an immigration judge charging you with being deportable from the country, keep in mind that the Constitution ensures your right to be represented by legal counsel, no matter your immigration status.
Legal Representation in US Immigration Court
Even undocumented immigrants have the right to be represented by a lawyer. Whether you’re illegally in the United States or not, do not let yourself be dissuaded by any immigration authority or government official from seeking an immigration lawyer’s help. Even if you’re told that your case does not require legal representation, insist on it.
If you find yourself in immigration court without an immigration attorney, get in on the record that you want the opportunity to find a lawyer to assist you in your case.
Failure to Attend Hearing
If you have received a Notice of Hearing that schedules you to appear in court, make sure that you heed it. Failing or neglecting to attend that hearing will result in you being deported in absentia. This will null your option to appeal the judge’s removal order even if there is a form of relief that you can avail yourself of, allowing you to remain in the country.
Board of Immigration Appeals
The Board of Immigration Appeals or BIA is the agency that issues binding appellate administrative decisions on the Department of Homeland Security Bureaus that are responsible for ensuring that immigration laws are enforced throughout the country. The DHS is tasked to stanch the trend of illegal immigration in the US.
The BIA is a section of the Executive Office for Immigration Review. A component of the Department of Justice, it is a separate federal agency that makes powerful decisions based on its interpretation of immigration laws.
Appealing a Deportation Order
You can appeal a deportation order issued by an immigration judge, but filing the notice of appeal at the BIA must be done within thirty days of the decision.
The BIA holds nationwide jurisdiction on hearing appeals of decisions brought down by immigration judges or by the Department of Homeland Security Bureau offices in a broad range of immigration proceedings with the DHS Bureaus as one party opposing the other party, which could be foreign-born individuals, with or without a green card, or even actual American citizens.
The decisions issued by the BIA are binding on all immigration officials and judges. They are to be upheld unless overruled or modified by a federal court or the Attorney General. While the BIA is not considered a federal court, its decisions are reviewed by judges in federal courts.
Choosing an Immigration Lawyer
There is a long list of North Carolina immigration lawyers, so make sure you choose a true champion of immigrant rights. Go for an experienced immigration attorney who enjoys a successful record of assisting both documented and illegal aliens facing the deportation process.
You want a lawyer who is well-versed on the immigration system and regularly interacts with various immigration services and offices, from the USCIS to the federal courts. That’s why you should look for an immigration law firm comprised of immigration policy experts, who regularly handle the following matters:
- Withholding of removal and application of asylum for asylum seekers.
- Application for removal relief.
- Any removal proceedings that involve deportability or inadmissibility, including those related to criminal convictions.
- Appeal to the BIA.
- Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus for foreign nationals, documented or undocumented, already held in detention as well as those facing orders of removal.
- Petition for review of appeals to the US Circuit Courts of Appeals.
- Lawsuits on eligibility for naturalization and citizenship.