Deportation and Removal Defense
If you or a member of your family have been scheduled for a deportation or removal hearing, you need an attorney who can assist you in preparing the most effective strategies to successfully fight removal. Attorney J. Christopher Llinas at Llinas Law, LLC understands the challenges you face, and he works to utilize every piece of evidence and legal strategy as part of your removal defense.
Deportation and removal takes place before an immigration judge in the U.S. Immigration Court in Hartford, CT, where there are currently two immigration judges. Because there is no immigration jail in the Hartford area, detained persons in Connecticut proceedings are often held in locations in Massachusetts, and sometimes in locations within the Connecticut Department of Corrections.
Persons in removal proceedings are called “respondents.” Cases are decided by immigration judges, who are appointed by the US Attorney General, and are part of the Department of Justice. Removal proceedings are prosecuted by attorneys from the Depart of Homeland Security, (“DHS”), or more specifically, U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (“ICE”).
Notice to Appear (“NTA”)
Removal proceedings begin when an immigration attorney files a Notice to Appear (“NTA”) with the immigration court, which is then served upon the respondent. The NTA is a dated document served by a U.S. immigration official, usually ICE, to a person suspected of entering the United States without inspection, remaining in the United States beyond the terms permitted by a visa, committing certain crimes which result in removeability even if in lawful status, or otherwise being present in the United States unlawfully.
Among other things, a NTA will contain a numbered list of factual allegations against you, and will also contain a charge of removeability, referencing the section of law that DHS is attempting to use to remove you from the US. The NTA may or may not contain a court date for you to appear and answer the charges contained therein. If no court date is listed, you may be notified of the court date by mail or in person at a future date.
Failure to appear for a removal hearing will result in an order of removal being entered by the Immigration Judge, in your absence, and you will not be able to challenge this unless you have a good reason for your absence, like a serious illness.
On the date of the removal hearing, also known as a master hearing or Master Calendar Hearing (sometimes abbreviated as MCH), before the immigration judge, you can be represented by an attorney of your choosing. It is important that you retain an attorney, as no attorney will be provided for you if you do not have one.
At the Master Hearing, you and your attorney answer the charges against you by pleading to the factual allegations and charge of removeability contained in the NTA. Thereafter, if you are eligible to apply for any relief from removal, you and your attorney may request such relief and file any applications required for the relief. Such forms of relief include the following
- Cancellation of Removal
- Criminal Waivers
- Non-Criminal Waivers
- Adjustment of Status
- Stay of Removal
- Withholding of Removal
- Temporary Protected Status
- U Visa
- Voluntary Departure
- Motion to Terminate
- Motion to Suppress
- Motion to Reopen
- Administrative Closure
- Prosecutorial Discretion
If you are not eligible for any form of relief or if you refuses to request relief from removal, the immigration judge may order you removed from the United States.
If you and your attorney have filed an application for relief or expressed to the immigration judge that you will be seeking a specific form of relief for which the respondent is not precluded by law, the immigration judge will set a merits hearing date. The merits hearing may be a matter of days or perhaps even more than a year later, depending on the type of relief requested and the particular court’s docket. However, if the only form of relief from removal available or requested is voluntary departure, the immigration judge will most often grant or deny your request for voluntary departure on the same date of the request.
At the merits hearing, also known as the “individual hearing,” you had your attorney will be able to present your documentary evidence (which is typically required to be submitted to the court prior to the date of the merits hearing) for the court’s consideration. You may also testify in support of his or her application for relief, and you may also call witnesses on your behalf. DHS also questions you and your witnesses, and they may also call their own witnesses in some cases. At the conclusion of the merits hearing, the immigration judge issues a decision. This decision might be oral and given on the same day as the merits hearing, or written and served by mail on all parties at a later date.
If your application for relief from removal is denied by an immigration judge, you may be eligible to appeal that decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) within 30 days of the date of the decision. If appealed, your removal proceedings continue at the appellate level at the BIA. If no appeal is filed and the immigration judge has ordered you to be removed, the removal order becomes final 30 days after it has been entered by the immigration judge. At that point, you are subject to being arrested and deported from the United States at any time.
Contact Connecticut Immigration Attorney J. Christopher Llinas now for a Consultation
It is critical that you consult with a skilled immigration lawyer immediately after being served with a Notice to Appear.
By working with an attorney from the very start of your case, you will better ensure that your rights and any vital evidence are properly preserved. Protect yourself and make an appointment with our office today.
As a qualified trial attorney, Attorney Llinas has the innate understanding and experience as to what types of evidence DHS may attempt to use against you.
He will use his experience and skills to construct a strong criminal defense strategy designed to meet DHS head-on through every turn and during every aspect of your defense.
Contact J. Christopher Llinas for a consultation to discuss the charges against you at 860-530-1781. He is available now to assist you.