Immigration Court

Defending Deportation and Removal

Immigration Lawyer Marc P. Feldman provides legal representation in New Jersey’s Immigration Courts.

IF YOU RECEIVED A “NOTICE TO APPEAR” from the Immigration Service or another letter from the immigration court requiring you to appear in immigration court on a certain date, we urge you to make an appointment with our office by calling (973) 267-7555 for a first free consultation so that we could advise you what to do next.

If you received Notice to Appear this means that you are in this country illegally and the United States government seeks to deport you back to your country of origin based on the illegal presence charges or in some cases based on the commission of a deportable criminal offense by you.  Immigration Court handles cases of individuals in removal/deportation proceedings that usually take place in the area where illegal alien is being detained or where he/she resides.  Normally, an individual in deportation (or removal) proceedings cannot be deported without an opportunity to seek relief – various immigration benefits in immigration court. Such immigration relief/benefits may include political asylum, adjustment of status to that of a permanent resident based on permanent residency/citizenship of alien’s relatives , cancellation of removal, and other immigration benefits.  If the immigration court decides that alien is eligible for permanent residency based on one of the listed forms of immigration relief or other forms of immigration relief, the alien will not be deported and instead will be granted permanent residency status in the United States.

Unlike in criminal court proceedings aliens who are being deported through an immigration court system do not have a right to hire a free public defender and are usually requested by the judge to find a private attorney to represent them in immigration court. The immigration law and immigration court procedures are usually very complex and difficult to understand, especially for the immigrants who are often uneducated, unsophisticated and do not speak English fluently.  Qualified immigration lawyers are normally familiar with both the immigration law and immigration court procedures. Even though the final decision in your immigration case will be made by an immigration judge, if you are represented by a qualified Immigration Lawyer  in immigration court, a skilled immigration lawyer may dramatically increase your chances of winning the case and either getting your green card back or getting a green card through immigration court.

What happens if I do not attend the immigration court hearing?
The U.S. immigration laws require that the alien who has an appointment with immigration court, attend every immigration court hearing regardless of whether you have an immigration lawyer to represent you in immigration court or not.  If you fail to appear at the immigration court hearing without a good excuse like severe illness or death in the family, the immigration court judge will issue a deportation order against you in absentia.  Once the deportation order is issued, the immigration officers/ ICE unit officers will have a right to go to your house to arrest you and deport you.

Do I need to bring an immigration lawyer to my first immigration court hearing?
Although it is advisable for you to find a qualified immigration lawyer as soon as you received an appointment letter with immigration court, if you do not yet have the money to hire an immigration lawyer, you can go to the first hearing alone.

Once you come to the immigration court, you have to find the courtroom where you were scheduled to appear. In the immigration court courtroom you have to talk to the immigration court clerk who is usually sitting on the side of the immigration judge’s desk. The immigration court clerk will register your presence in the immigration court courtroom to make sure the immigration judge does not deport you based on your failure to appear in immigration court. It is very important to let the immigration court clerk know that you have arrived to the immigration court. After checking in you should quietly sit down if the space is available in the immigration court courtroom and wait to be called by the immigration clerk.  When your name is called, and you are talking to the immigration judge you should tell the immigration judge that you WOULD LIKE TO GET A CONTINUANCE TO HIRE AN IMMIGRATION LAWYER TO REPRESENT YOU IN YOUR IMMIGRATION COURT PROCEEDINGS. The immigration judges are usually generous with continuances for unrepresented aliens to get an immigration lawyer. However, if you’ve already had one continuance to get an immigration lawyer, and still could not find a lawyer or still do not have the money to hire an immigration lawyer, you cannot get continuances forever.   Usually after the first two continuances to get an immigration lawyer, the immigration judges lose patience and may insist that you represent yourself before the immigration court  in applying for asylum, cancellation of removal, adjustment of status or any other case to get a green card/permanent residency in the United States.  If you feel comfortable representing yourself in immigration court, you have a right to do so. Most people do not know immigration law and immigration court procedures and are not able to competently represent themselves in immigration court.  If you don’t feel comfortable to represent yourself in immigration court, the best course of action would be to hire a New Jersey based immigration lawyer as soon as possible and even if you don’t do it before the first immigration court hearing, you should certainly hire an immigration lawyer after the immigration judge granted the first continuance to you and should not test immigration judge’s patience.

How many hearings do I need to attend in the immigration court?
The number of immigration court hearings varies depending on the nature of your immigration case.  Some immigration cases may take more  than 7 or 8 immigration court hearings and several years to process through the immigration court system.  This may happen due to the complexity of your immigration case, due to additional continuances (changes in immigration court dates) requested by you, your immigration lawyer, government immigration lawyer or made by the immigration judge on his own initiative. Some immigration court date changes (continuances) happen because you changed your immigration lawyers.

Some immigration cases, on the other hand do not last more than 6 months. Regardless of how long your immigration court case will last, you must be patient and must attend every immigration court hearing to avoid deportation order in absentia.

Can I travel during my immigration court proceedings?
The immigration court proceedings are called “removal proceedings” – which basically mean that that the U.S. government is trying to remove/deport you from the United States back to your country by virtue of the immigration court removal proceedings.  If you want to help the U.S. government to accomplish this goal sooner rather than later, go ahead and travel during the deportation proceedings.  Traveling during the immigration court proceedings may be fatal to your immigration case and should be avoided unless a true emergency exists that may be more important for you than your right to stay in the United States legally.

Facing the prospect of deportation can be one of the most stressful experiences of a person’s life. If you have been served with a notice to appear before an Immigration Judge that charges you with being deportable/removable from the United States, it is important to remember that you have a constitutionally protected right to be represented by a US immigration lawyer.

To discuss possible representation regarding any of these types of litigation-related matters, or discuss referring cases involving any of these issues, feel free to contact Immigration Lawyer Marc P. Feldman immediately, to speak directly with an immigration attorney.

Examples of crimes that may affect your permanent resident status include:

  1. A crime defined as an “aggravated felony,” which includes crimes of violence that are felonies with a one-year prison term.
  2. Murder.
  3. Terrorist activities.
  4. Rape.
  5. Sexual assault on a child.
  6. Illegal trafficking in drugs, firearms, or people.
  7. A crime of “moral turpitude,” which in general is a crime with an intent to steal or defraud;a crime where physical harm is done or threatened; a crime where serious physical harm is caused by reckless behavior; or a crime of sexual misconduct.  There are also serious consequences for you as a permanent resident if you:
  1. Lie to get immigration benefits for yourself or someone else.
  2. Say you are a U.S. citizen if you are not.
  3. Vote in a federal election or in a local election open only to U.S. citizens.
  4. Are a “habitual drunkard”—someone who is drunk or someone who uses illegal drugs most of the time.
  5. Are married to more than one person at the same time.
  6. Fail to support your family or to pay child or spousal support as ordered.
  7. Are arrested for assaulting or harassing a family member, including violating a protection order.  This is called domestic violence.
  8. Lie to get public benefits.
  9. Fail to file tax returns when required.
  10. Willfully fail to register for the Selective Service if you are a male between the ages of 18 and 26.
  11. Help someone else who is not a U.S. citizen or national to enter the United States illegally even if that person is a close relative and even if you are not paid.  If you have committed or have been convicted of a Crime, before you apply for another immigration benefit, you should consult with a reputable immigration

My firm handles the following types of matters:

  1. Applications for Asylum, and Withholding of Removal.
  2. Removal Proceedings involving issues of deportability and inadmissibility, including criminal-related charges.
  3. Applications for relief from removal.
  4. Appeals to the Board of Immigration Appeals.
  5. Lawsuits involving eligibility and processing for citizenship and naturalization.
  6. Petitions for Writ of Habeas Corpus on behalf of detained non-citizens and those facing removal orders.
  7. Petitions for Review of Appeals to the United States Circuit Courts of Appeals.

Do not allow an immigration officer to dissuade you from seeking advice from an U.S. Immigration Attorney, contact Immigration Lawyer Marc P. Feldman immediately, even if they tell you that you do not need an attorney. If you are before an Immigration Judge without an U.S. Immigration Attorney, tell the Judge on that you want the opportunity to try to find a US Immigration Lawyer to help you with your case, then Immigration Lawyer Marc P. Feldman.

If you have been given a Notice of Hearing scheduling you for an immigration hearing if you fail or neglect to attend that hearing you will be deported in absentia (while not present), and you will be unable to appeal the Immigration Judge’s order of removal even if you have a form of relief available to you that would allow you to remain in the United States.

To discuss possible representation regarding any of these types of litigation-related matters, or discuss referring cases involving any of these issues, feel free to contact Immigration Lawyer Marc P. Feldman immediately, to speak directly with an immigration attorney.

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