ICE has undertaken the practice of detaining individuals at state courthouses when they appear for matters unrelated to their immigration case. The explanation given by the agency is that communities that do not place “immigration holds” on immigrants have “forced their hand” towards this practice. This is utter nonsense. ICE has a significant number of tools with which to locate and apprehend aliens who they consider high priority such as gang members or people with previous deportations orders. One, they can simply look them up and detain them at their homes or other locations. In today’s day and age, its almost impossible for someone not to leave a digital trail that will allow law enforcement to find them. Two, if an individual is on probation for a serious offense and is on probation, ICE can detain him or her at the probation officer’s appointments. Three, ICE may and does detain a significant number of individuals with criminal backgrounds while they are traveling in and out of the Unite States. Just from these examples it is clear that ICE has other options beyond going to courthouses to pick up aliens. The real reason is obvious, as with denaturalization cases and other actions, to send a chill through the immigrant community in order to have them “self deport” and/or creating legal hurdles to being in the U.S. Not OK as the person ultimately in charge of these policies has said. If not look at the opinion of 77 ex-judges on this matter.
First and foremost, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Alaska takes a very pragmatic and serious approach to the enforcement of immigration laws. Rare are the cases of individuals who have not crossed paths with the law who find themselves in the sights of ICE in this state. In other words, if you do not have a previous deportation order and/or have not committed a criminal offense that makes you deportable the chances of immigration “picking you up” are lower. That does not mean that individuals who are in the United States without permission or out of status have a free for all. Do not confuse a priority system based upon ICE’s resources with the idea that it is OK to violate immigration laws. So, if you are out there as an immigrant (including residents or naturalized citizens – yes Uncle Sam can take your naturalization away under certain circumstances) with a criminal background or have a previous order of removal – even if you have TPS or are checking in with ICE- call an immigration attorney experienced with these type of cases ASAP.
Deportation happens, be ready.
So what happens if you are getting deported? Here is a short guide.
THE NOTICE TO APPEAR – NTA (DEPORTATION)
1) Service of the Notice – Keeping your address updated: The notice is served by mail or personally. Because mailing is enough you should ALWAYS keep Immigration (CIS) updated with your dress. The NTA may also be served personally by an Immigration Officer.
2) Contents of the Notice – Allegations and Charges. The NTA will specify what actions sustain the removal charge or charges. It will always state that you are not as US Citizen and where you are a citizen or national of. The NTA will also specify the transgressions against Immigration law that you are being accused of. Be familiar with this document.
WHO IS IN THE COURT – THE PLAYERS IN DEPORTATION
1) The Judge (EOIR). The Judge is part of the Department of Justice so they do not really belong to “Immigration.” They are Judges and have your life in their hands. Address them properly as Judge or Your Honor.
2) The Trial Attorney (ICE). The Trial Attorneys belong to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of the Chief Counsel. Their job is to “prosecute” your case so it is important that you have proper counsel to assist you in this process.
3) The Clerk. The Clerk belongs to the EOIR and is there to assist the Judge with general information and support.
4) The Interpreter. Depending on your native language the Court will provide an interpreter at no cost to you.
THE DEPORTATION HEARINGS
1) The Master Hearing. This is your first hearing. Generally the Court will allow you to postpone this hearing, get a continuance, in order to acquire legal counsel. This will generally be done only one time. At this hearing you will address the charges in the NTA and will also ask for relief (What is going to keep you from being deported. i.e. you are already a resident, the crime immigration says you were convicted of is not a removable offense, you are elegible for a waiver, etc..)
2) The Individual Hearing. At this hearing you will present your case to the Court. It may take several hours so be ready and prepared with your attorney.
THE DECISION AND APPEALS OF A DEPORTATION CASE
Hopefully your decision is favorable and the Judge found in your favor. If the decision is negative you have 30 days to present an appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals in Virginia. Your appeal has to physically be there on the 30th day or it will be late. BE VERY CAREFUL WITH THIS POINT. Instead of appealing you may file a motion to reconsider within 30 days or a motion to reopen within 90 days. The decision as to which path to take should be made with your attorney as your rights will be affected by it.
CLEARLY THIS GUIDE IS NOT A REPLACEMENT FOR AN ATTORNEY. BE JUDICIOUS IN CHOOSING ONE AND MAKE SURE HE OR SHE HAS AMPLE EXPERIENCE IN HANDLING REMOVAL CASES. NOT ALL LAWYERS ARE THE SAME AND NOT ALL IMMIGRATION ATTORNEYS GO TO COURT.
It is hard to believe that the question “how will Immigration find out?” is still being asked by clients and relied upon by some lawyers. Not only is this line of thinking one that may jeopardize an attorney’s license, it is an almost assured way of ruining a case. In ANY immigration proceeding, be it your first or last, credibility is an essential part. Why? Because not only may your credibility support the case, in some instances it is the reason why you win it. For example, an asylum case may be granted solely upon credible testimony. (Asylum Credibility) At the same time, the moment credibility is lost with an adjudicator or opposing party, it is very likely that the case will follow the same path – no matter if it is USCIS, an Asylum Officer, or an Immigration Judge. So, advice.
First. Always disclose arrests, marriages, changes of address, travel to and from the U.S., etc… If for some reason your attorney tells you that such act or situation may be an issue: DEAL WITH IT up front. Trying to hide it or not disclosing it to a department of state consul, an immigration officer or a customs and border protection agent will eventually surface, destroy your credibility and create a disqualifier in the form of fraud. (Immigration Fraud Info) Further, remember that most things have waivers – few don’t, like a false claim to us citizenship (but even that may be salvageable!) – and it is better to disclose and request a waiver than to fail to disclose and, not only get your case on the path to assured denial, ending up with a fraud charge for which you may need a second waiver.
Second. Tell your immigration attorney and keep a record of what you said. Lawyers are human, they make mistakes, forget things, and cannot read minds. So, do not assume that your lawyer knows something in your case if you have not expressly told him or her about it. If you think something should be in everyone’s record tell your lawyer and let him or her guide you on that issue. Take it as a serious warning if your attorney even hints at not disclosing a fact or issue with your case. (This is not to be confused with what the government must prove in its burden in certain cases, but this is a very fine line which you must walk with care).
Finally, keep in mind the information that you have in the internet. It is public information in many cases. Google, Facebook, Instagram and other applications and social media services provide a summary of the information they have collected on you. (Ger your information) You may want to retrieve this information to have a record.
So, when dealing with immigration start from the idea that all negative information about you is in their hands. This leads to better preparation of cases and better results for you as you will not have to worry many years later if your citizenship may be revoked be cause of an undisclosed fact in your immigration history. (Denaturalization Cases) So talk your attorney or if you do not have one, get one. Good luck. For more information go to our main page.