As a lawyer who frequently appears in Immigration Court, here are some tips that should improve your experience at your immigration hearing.
Hire the best immigration attorney you can find.
In Immigration Court, the Department of Homeland Security, DHS, will be represented by lawyers who handle countless deportation cases each week. Unlike criminal proceedings, federal immigration laws don't provide you with the right to a free lawyer. But you do have the right to be represented at your own expense by the lawyer of your choosing. In Immigration Court, you are not required to be represented by an attorney. But, in my experience, I have rarely seen anyone successful represent himself or herself in Immigration Court. As such, hire the best immigration attorney you can find.
Attend all of your scheduled hearing dates in Immigration Court.
If you don't go to Immigration Court for your hearing, the Immigration Judge will give you an order of removal or deportation and a warrant will be issued for your arrest.
Do not bring a non-lawyer to Immigration Court to speak on your behalf.
In Immigration Court hearings, from time to time I see people attempt to have their U.S. citizen spouse or family member speak on their behalf. Only lawyers licensed to practice law in the United States are authorized to appear in Immigration Court as your representative. The Judge will not allow anyone else to speak on your behalf.
Make sure that any Petitioners that have filed applications on your behalf comes to Immigration Court with you for all hearings.
If your case is based on a an immigrant petition, make sure that the petitioner comes with you to Immigration Court for all of your hearings.
Arrive before the scheduled time of your Immigration Court hearing.
Most Immigration Court's will have a sign-in sheet is placed in the waiting room. Respondents should arrive and sign in before the scheduled time of their hearing. Additionally, showing up early helps ensure that you will be in Immigration Court on time.
Additional resources provided by the author
Go to the Immigration Court's (EOIR) website at http://www.justice.gov/eoir for additional information as to your Immigration Court hearing.
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