Immigration rules for deportation defense are stricter. Immigration Court procedures are tighter. Immigration judges are stricter.
Yet, over 50% of immigrants go to Immigration Court deportation and removal hearings without an immigration lawyer. This is a recipe for disaster.
In short, deportation defense law is difficult by definition.
Americans looked for causes after the 9/11 attacks – many blamed the immigration system. Nineteen hijackers had entered the United States on student visas; the others used tourist visas. The results were predictable. It became harder to qualify for green cards, U.S. citizenship, and other immigrant visas.
When green card applications fail, immigrants are often sent to Immigration Court. The government asks the judge to deport the immigrants. It becomes a winner-takes-all situation.
Like all aspects of immigration law, deportation law has become more rigid in recent years.
These changes make winning your case harder than ever before . . . and the role of an immigration trial attorney more essential to your success.
The Immigration Court Overload
Immigration courts are flooded today: too many cases and too little time.
Since 2002, immigration judges are responsible for over 300,000 deportation and removal cases per year. There are 54 immigration courts and 226 immigration judges. It is estimated that each judge makes about five rulings per day, sometimes with less than 15 minutes to render a decision.
How Does The Immigration Court Overload Hurt Your Case?
The results of overcrowding:
Immigration judges take a quick look at written materials, searching for errors and omissions. A single error may cause a case to be denied, setting an immigrant’s petition back by a year or more. The error can even lead to your permanent deportation or removal from the U.S.
Immigration judges are forced to complete trials as quickly as possible. Instead of hearing from all possible witnesses, judges commonly ask for written statements instead of actual testimony. Important information may be left out. Unless there is an experienced deportation trial lawyer doing the writing, most immigrants will fail to include certain evidence the judges need to know.
Immigration judges will not create law. They do not study rules like an immigration trial lawyer. If a law has been used a certain way by courts in the past, a judge is going to do things the same way. Only an experienced and confident immigration attorney will challenge how laws and procedures have been used in the past if your situation is different.
The Role of Your Immigration Defense Attorney
A deportation defense lawyer can bring many advantages to your case – and can help to offset the problems you will face at Immigration Court. These advantages may make the difference between winning and losing.
How Do You Fight Deportation At Immigration Court?
First, everything counts at an immigration trial. How you prepare your application will influence every step of the process. Too often deserving and honorable immigrants destroy their chances with poorly prepared paperwork. Confusing information can make it difficult to challenge a bad decision by the judge. Your deportation defense lawyer should be able to prevent these mistakes before they happen.
Second, there are many programs unknown to immigrants. They are easily overlooked if you do not have an experienced immigration attorney. For example, 5-10 years ago, a special program may have existed for immigrants from your home country. Now it no longer exists. A good immigration trial lawyer will know if that old law can still be used to help you stay here as a permanent resident.
Third, a deportation defense lawyer with immigration appeals experience can protect you against bad decisions. Judges are humans. They make mistakes. A judge might overlook important evidence which helps your case. A judge may fail to properly consider testimony from a witness. Or the judge might use a rule against you in an improper manner. Your immigration lawyer will know how to challenge these errors.
Defense against deportation and removal is not easy. Most immigration court cases are not simple. And the harder your case . . . the more you need the help of an immigration trial attorney.