About Deportation Defense
Most people are familiar with the term “deportation defense ” or “deportation proceedings.” In 1996, Congress amended the immigration laws and did away with the term “deportation proceedings.” Today, we call the proceedings to deport someone from the United States: “removal proceedings.” There is no longer an Immigration and Naturalization Service (“INS”).
In New York City, there are two immigration courts. There is one immigration court at 26 Federal Plaza. There is a second immigration court at 201 Varick Street that handles detained cases.
The agency that represents the government in removal proceedings to deport people is now called the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”).
A person who is in removal proceedings is called a respondent.
Removal proceedings are begun by serving the respondent with a document called the notice to appear.
The notice to appear charges the respondent with being in the United States unlawfully. The notice to appear will contain numbered factual allegations that explain why the respondent is accused of being in the United States unlawfully. The notice to appear will then explain what provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act that the respondent is accused of violating.
In immigration court, there are two kinds of hearings: (1) master calendar hearings; and (2) individual hearings.
A master calendar hearing is a general purpose hearing. Testimony is not normally taken at master calendar hearings. For master calendar hearings, immigration judges usually schedule many cases at the same time.
Most immigration judges take cases during their master calendar on a first come, first serve basis. Master calendar cases usually take no more than fifteen minutes before the immigration judge.
However, depending upon how early you arrive to court, you can wind up waiting hours for your case to be called.
One of the things that occur at a master calendar hearing is that your lawyer will take oral pleadings.
Pleadings are when the allegations and charges in the notice to appear are responded to. Sometimes the basis for the allegations and the charges in the notice to appear can be challenged and the proceedings can be terminated. However, in most cases, the allegations and charges in the notice to appear must be admitted and conceded because the respondent is actually in the United States unlawfully.
If you are found removable by the immigration judge, then you must apply for relief from removal. If you are ineligible for relief from removal, then you will be ordered deported. Among the forms of relief from removal are:
- Cancellation of Removal
- Withholding of Removal
- Relief Under the Convention Against Torture
- Adjustment of Status
- Waivers of Inadmissibility Pursuant to INA §§ 212(c), 212(h), and 212(i)
- Relief pursuant to INA § 237(a)(1)(H)
- Voluntary Departure
Another function of master calendar hearings is to apply for relief from removal, submit applications for relief, submit evidence in support of applications for relief and to schedule individual hearings on applications for relief.
The other type of hearing is an individual hearing.
Unlike a master calendar hearing, at an individual hearing, no other case is scheduled except for yours. Usually, merits hearings occur at individual hearings. A merits hearing is when the immigration court holds a mini-trial on an application for relief. Testimony is taken on whether or not to allow the respondent to remain in the United States. Sometimes individual hearings are used for immigration judges to render decisions or to address complicated legal issues.
Why You Should Hire Me to Do Your Deportation Defense
I have fourteen years of experience in immigration court.
I have taught five continuing legal education courses to attorneys about how to win cases in immigration court.
I have done virtually every kind of case in immigration court – adjustment of status, cancellation of removal, waivers (i.e., 212(c), 212(h), and 212(i)), asylum, withholding of removal, and convention against torture.
I have extensive background in representing individuals with criminal history in removal proceedings.
I have gotten numerous detained clients released on bond.
I also have experience with filing motions to reopen with Immigration Courts, especially motions to reopen to rescind in absentia orders.
Immigration court cases are won and lost based upon the preparation that is performed.
Documents must be submitted to the Immigration Judge regarding the client’s personal life (i.e., taxes, bank statements, and letters from family and friends). Immigration forms must be prepared and submitted to the Immigration Judge.
Finally, testimony must be prepared and rehearsed before going into Immigration Court.
The failure to properly prepare an Immigration Court case can be a disaster.
I personally meet with my clients to prepare their cases. I have found that by taking the time to talk to my clients and getting to know them, I am better able to represent them because I know more about them. I take as much time as is needed on every case to properly prepare the case.
When testimony is needed, I usually perform at least two multiple hour rehearsal sessions with my clients, in addition to preparing any witnesses.
I primarily practice in the Immigration Courts in New York and New Jersey. However, federal regulations permit an attorney admitted in any state to appear before any Immigration Court. I have litigated deportation cases throughout the country.