There are two major misconceptions among those facing deportation or removal proceedings. They tend to think either “the judge will help me if I tell a sympathetic story,” or “there’s no hope for me to stay in the U.S. anyway, so why hire an attorney?”
Both of these ideas, while understandable, are misguided.
Why You Shouldn’t Count on the Immigration Judge For Help
Immigration court proceedings are less formal than normal court proceedings. No jury will be present, less scripted legal language needs to be used, and everyone generally understands that the immigrant may not be familiar with American legal procedures. The immigration judge (IJ) is expected to act in an impartial manner. That means that he or she is not supposed to automatically side with the attorney who will be there for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), but to consider both the DHS’s arguments and the immigrant’s before coming to a decision.
That is where the good news ends, however. The IJ is not going to think up legal arguments for you, nor help you present your case. The judge may not even know about circumstances in your case that might warrant a favorable decision or an exercise of discretion — and, with a busy court docket, probably doesn’t have the time to interview you and find out.
In short, if you show up in court with a charge of being removable — perhaps because you are in the United States without authorization, or got convicted of a crime after obtaining your green card — and you can’t come up with any reason why you shouldn’t be deported other than, “I work hard and have a family here,” the judge will have no choice but to deport you.
How an Immigration Lawyer Can Help
Prior to going before the IJ, the Mazzola Law Firm will spend necessary time to determine whether the DHS charge against you is correct, and what particular circumstances about you provide the best defense against your deportation. Because of complexities in the immigration laws, these possibilities may not be apparent to you, even after reading up on immigration law matters.
In order to put forth the strongest argument possible, will make sure all required forms are filled out properly, assist in preparation of exhibits (documents backing up your statements), draft legal briefs arguing the case, and prepare you and any witnesses for the court hearing.
Even if the judge denies the case, having a solid amount of information on the record will make your chances of a positive decision on appeal much stronger. After all, this is your one and only chance to fully present your testimony and legal arguments. Appeals do not give you a chance at a whole new review of your case — they just focus on whether they immigration judge made the right decision given the information presented to him or her.
If you are facing deportation, do not go at it alone. Call us at 844.800.6335, or feel free to contact us through this website.