Deportation Defense Tips for Boston Immigration Court
As a deportation defense lawyer who frequently appears in Immigration Court in Boston, here are some tips that should improve your experience at your immigration hearing:
- Attend all hearing in Immigration Court (and all other courts). If you don’t go to Immigration Court for your hearing, the Immigration Judge will give you an order of removal or deportation “in absentia” and a warrant will be issued for your arrest.
- Arrive one hour before the time of your scheduled hearing. In Boston Immigration Court, for all master calendar hearings, a sign-in sheet is placed in the waiting room. I tell my immigration clients to arrive and sign in one hour before the scheduled time of the hearing. The sooner you sign in, the sooner your immigration case will be heard by the Immigration Judge. Plus, showing up early helps ensure that you will be in Immigration Court on time. Be careful: if you are late for your immigration hearing, you could be given an order of removal or deportation.
- Dress appropriately. Boston Immigration Court is a serious place and you want to show the Immigration Judge and the Trial Attorney that you take the proceedings seriously. Don’t wear a hat inside the courtroom. Take off your jacket. Wear what you would wear to a job interview or to a wedding. Inappropriate attire includes t-shirts with questionable slogans, spandex, stiletto heels, mini skirts, do-rags, shorts–you get the idea.
- Be respectful to the Immigration Judge and to the Trial Attorney. Maintain a calm, polite demeanor in Immigration Court–even if things don’t go your way. Think of it this way: deportation is bad but deportation plus being arrested and held in contempt of court is worse.
- Do NOT bring small children to Boston Immigration Court in the hopes that it will make the Immigration Judge more sympathetic to your immigration case. Keep in mind that hearings in Immigration Court take a long time and often require lots of waiting around. Combine the boredom of waiting with the stress of the immigration hearing and you have a not-so-great environment for young children.
- Make sure the Immigration Court has your correct address on file If you change your address, notify the Immigration Judge immediately by filing Form EOIR-33 with the appropriate proof of service.
- Turn off your cellphone in Boston Immigration Court. Off means completely off. Don’t send text messages or put your cellphone on the vibrate or silent mode.
- If you case is based on a pending I-130 immigrant petition based on marriage to a U.S. citizen, make sure that your U.S. citizen spouse comes with you to Immigration Court for all of your master calendar hearings.
- Do not bring a non-lawyer to Immigration Court to speak on your behalf. In Immigration Court in Boston at master calendar hearings, I sometimes see people attempt to have their U.S. citizen spouse or family member speak on their behalf. The Immigration Judge will not permit this. Only lawyers licensed to practice law in the United States are authorized to appear in Immigration Court as your representative.
- Hire the best immigration attorney you can find. In Boston Immigration Court, the Department of Homeland Security will be seeking to deport you from the US. This immigration agency will be represented by lawyers who handle countless deportation cases each week. Unlike criminal proceedings, federal immigration laws don’t provide you with the right to a free lawyer. But you do have the right to be represented at your own expense by the lawyer of your choosing. In Immigration Court, you are not required to be represented by an attorney. But, in my experience, I have rarely seen anyone successful represent himself or herself in Immigration Court. You need a lawyer with substantial experience in complicated immigration issues and deportation proceedings, preferably an attorney who practices immigration law exclusively. Meet with an immigration lawyer well before your hearing to come up with a strategy to protect you from deportation.
If you have questions about Immigration Court, please call my Boston immigration law firm at 617-722-0005. We are ready to help you come up with a strategy to help protect you from deportation.