What are Your Rights in Your Immigration Court Case?

  • You have the right to legal help with your immigration case. You have a right to defend yourself against deportation or removal from the United States. The government starts the case by giving you a Notice to Appear (NTA), which lists the charges against you. If the government is trying to deport you for a crime, that crime will be listed on the NTA along with the section of the immigration law. You will need an experienced and licensed lawyer who can help you understand the law and your options so that you can make the best decision for yourself and your family. Beware of notarios or self-claimed immigration “consultants”—they cannot provide legal advice or represent you in immigration court.
  • Even if you do not have a lawyer, you must attend every one of your immigration court hearings regardless of whether you have a lawyer to represent you or not. If you fail to appear you could be ordered to be deported without the chance to present your case. You have a right to ask the immigration judge for more time to prepare and find a lawyer. Do not be afraid to go to court. No one can force you to defend yourself before you are ready.
  • If you cannot speak English comfortably, the court will provide a free interpreter. It’s best not to try to communicate in a language you do not fully understand. It can only hurt you. Tell the judge that you need an interpreter; one will be provided to you for free, usually by phone. You cannot, however,  bring your own interpreter.
  • Make sure you have the right information as to when and where you are supposed to go to immigration court. You can find out about your case status any time, day or night, on the immigration court hotline, 1-800-898-7180. If you move or change your phone number, you must file a Change of Address Form with the Immigration Court. You must file this form within five (5) working days of a change in your address or phone number.
  • If you were harmed in your home country or are afraid of persecution if you were to be sent back, you have the right to ask the immigration judge for protection. Not everyone will qualify, but if you truly fear returning to your country, there is no penalty for applying. You cannot be deported until your case has been decided.
  • You may qualify for protection for a number of reasons, including harm or fear of harm based on your race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership of a particular social group. Examples of particular social group that have frequently been recognized by the U.S. government includes tribes or ethnic groups, social classes, family members of dissidents, occupational groups, sexual orientation, child soldiers, members or former members of the police or military (who may be targeted for assassination), and, in some cases, women.
  • If an immigration judge denies your case, you have the right to ask for that decision to be reviewed. If you file an appeal, you cannot be deported while your case is being reviewed. Make sure you talk to a lawyer about other options that might allow you to stay in the United States. Children abandoned by one or both parents may qualify for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). Some crime victims may qualify for a U visa, and others who were harmed by human traffickers may qualify for a T visa. If you have relatives in the U.S., they may be able to sponsor you for status.

It’s difficult for anyone after trying to establish roots in the U.S. to face deportation. Therefore, it is vital to know your legal rights, how the law operates, and what your options are. It’s imperative that you obtain competent legal counsel.

Attorney Gokhan Yazici with YAZICI LAW has extensive experience in a wide array of complex removal cases, including cases involving appeals to Board of Immigration Appeals and Federal Court of Appeals. If you are facing deportation, call us now at (646) 657-8144. Do not fight it alone!

Gokhan Yazici

Gokhan Yazici is an experienced attorney and counsellor practicing in the state of New York. He is specialized in U.S. Immigration Law, Corporate & Business Law, Business Transactions, Commercial Litigation, International Trade & U.S. Customs Law. Mr. Yazici holds an LL.B. degree from Istanbul University Law School and an LL.M. degree from Temple University James Beasley School of Law.