I received notice that I have to appear in immigration court. Now what?
Facing deportation is complex, challenging and scary. Unlike in criminal court, you are not entitled to an attorney at government expense. In every case, the US government is represented by a trained attorney. Their job is to argue that you should be deported. This is true whether or not you have an attorney to argue on your behalf.
If you want to fight your deportation, you need to prepare to argue your case in immigration court. Arguing your case in immigration court involves complicated rules and strict deadlines. You can find the immigration court practice manual here. While not technically a requirement, having an experienced immigration attorney on your side can be the difference between winning relief or being deported.
Why should I hire an attorney?
Hiring an experienced immigration attorney can dramatically increase the odds that you will win relief. If you are not in ICE detention, having legal representation is associated with a 43% increase in the chance of a successful outcome. The increase is 19% for a detained individual.
Fighting your case with a good attorney can have many benefits. A few examples include:
- Quickly determining all your available options for relief. Some options may require advanced research and being alert to facts that may not seem relevant at first.
- Holding ICE accountable for any procedural mistakes or incorrect legal arguments they make. ICE attorneys make mistakes. They may file paperwork incorrectly, make inaccurate legal arguments or even initiate removal proceedings when they have no right to deport you. While the judge should correct any obvious errors, many times these mistakes go unnoticed unless your attorney works to spot them and point them out.
- Making a sophisticated legal argument in your defense. Sometimes a person has relief available, but complex legal arguments must be made before it becomes clear to the judge. A good attorney will provide both oral and written legal arguments, often involving obscure or brand-new case law and regulations, in order to convince the judge you are entitled to relief.
- Adding polish and professionalism to your submissions to the court. Judges deal with hundreds if not thousands of pages of legal documents every week. A submission to the court should be carefully crafted to persuade the judge to rule in your favor. This is about more than stating the law correctly. A good attorney will consider things like typography, tabulation and even paper type to optimize your submission to the court.
- Providing insight into the judge’s mind. Many attorneys work with the same judges for years, getting to know their personalities and their courtroom habits. We also come to understand what might irritate one judge but not another, or that one judge is tougher on witnesses than her colleagues.
- Ensuring that you present your best possible case. A good attorney will use argument, evidence, persuasion and strategy to maximize the odds of success.
Bacus Law has extensive experience providing focused, robust and thorough representation in immigration court. Get in touch today for a free 20-minute consultation.