The number one thing you must remember is that just because you have been placed in removal proceedings DOES NOT MEAN that you are going to be deported from the United States. In many instances, removal proceedings can lead to permanent residency. Removal proceedings are initiated by the government if an individual is either illegally present in the United States, has done something to violate their current non-immigrant visa or in cases of legal permanent residents, has done something to violate the terms of the residency, such as a conviction for a serious crime or multiple crimes.
Removal proceedings begin when government issues a Notice to Appear (NTA). The NTA is presented to an Immigration Judge who must then decide whether to order you removed from the United States or allow you to remain. There are numerous ways to be placed in removal proceedings but the most common are referral from an asylum officer, local law enforcement contacts Immigration (ICE) or filing an application with Immigration that you are not qualified to receive. Often times, it can happen randomly if Customs and Border Patrol (CPB) or ICE comes across you at a bus station or in an area frequented by illegal aliens.
First, know your rights.
Always request a hearing before the Immigration Judge. In many instances, ICE or CPB will try to intimidate you into signing a voluntary removal order. If you sign the order, you have given up your rights to see a Judge. ICE or CPB may try to coerce you into signing a voluntary return by telling you that you will sit in jail for months. This is not true. Most individuals that go before the Judge are granted a bond. It is only in situations where the individual has committed a particularly serious crime that bond is not granted.
Hire an Immigration Attorney right away.
An Immigration Attorney can help reduce your bond or even have you released on your own recognizance. An experienced immigration attorney will also know what forms of relief you are eligible for which may allow you to remain in the US or even obtain permanent residency.
Attorney Charlotte Viener has been practicing before the Immigration Court for over seventeen years. Hiring an experienced Immigration attorney while in removal proceedings may be the biggest decision you ever make. Our office is always here to help. You or a family member can contact Charlotte directly at firstname.lastname@example.org any time if this situation occurs. She will respond to you immediately and begin to take the steps to get you or your loved one released from custody and prepare you for your day in Court.