Knowing your rights in immigration deportation proceedings, also called removal proceedings, could be the difference between being sent back to your home country and legally remaining in the United States. Thus, it is important to know what you can do if you are in removal proceedings.
Deportation proceedings are administrative in nature and the immigration courts are part of the Department of Justice. Despite being administrative, they are adversarial. The immigrant facing removal may have his/her own attorney and the opposing side will be the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). An independent immigration judge will preside over the matter.
Deportation proceedings begin with the DHS issuing a Notice to Appear, which sets forth the facts and the laws that DHS is relying on to deport the immigrant. The immigrant may not be in custody when he/she receives the notice. The immigrant will then have the following rights in the deportation process:
- The right to representation at no expense to the Government. This means that you have the right to hire your own attorney but the Government does not have to pay for it.
- The right to be provided a list of available legal services. This is a current list of organizations and attorneys which provide free legal services.
- The right to contact his/her consulate. The immigrant is allowed to contact the consulate to explain the situation and seek advice.
- The right to an interpreter. If the immigrant does not speak fluent English, the court will provide a translator.
- The right to examine and present evidence, call witnesses, etc.
- The constitutional right to Due Process.
All this means that you won’t be deported without a fair opportunity to defend yourself. There are laws in place that could prevent the Government from deporting you. You need to understand your rights and take advantage of them. With competent legal counsel, you could prevent deportation altogether or, at the very least, could delay deportation for years. Once you receive a Notice to Appear, it is imperative that you contact your attorney of choice immediately.
To stay updated on current USCIS issues or for more information on your legal rights in immigration deportation proceedings, please visit Central Florida’s full service immigration firm at www.OrlandoVisa.com, or call us at (407) 648-5742.