The prospect of mounting a deportation defense can feel scary. Fortunately, you can do several things to be as prepared as possible. A deportation defense attorney will usually want you to do all of the following.
Seek Counsel Immediately
It is always wise to have counsel when you go to court. This is even more important when attending a deportation hearing. The American immigration and deportation system is painfully complex, and you'll almost certainly need a deportation defense lawyer to help you make sense of it. You want to be sure that your defense will fit your current status or the status that you're seeking.
Deportation cases tend to be heavy on paperwork. Foremost, you need to be able to document your most-recent legal status. Whatever your visa is, you need to show the paperwork supporting your right to stay in the U.S. If you're seeking temporary status without a grant of a visa, then you'll need to document how far you are into the process.
Also, you need to document the notices from the government. Find out what the government's basis is for the deportation hearing. If you talk to an official on the phone about it, note who you spoke to and when. Note what their position is, too.
Make copies of all of your documents and notes. Store the originals safely. Supply the copies to your deportation defense attorney so they can start studying the case's specifics.
Ideally, the deportation hearing is the product of a mix-up or misunderstanding regarding your current status. For example, one branch of the government might not have caught up with the processing of your new visa. If that's the case, then you should have a clear-cut defense.
Things are not always ideal when the government is headed toward deporting someone. You and your deportation defense lawyer may need to explore options like petitioning for asylum, seeking a waiver, or requesting an adjustment of status.
Know the Hearing Schedule
The biggest mistake you can make is not attending all of the hearings. Failure to appear could accelerate the deportation process and eliminate your opportunity to present a defense.
Know the hearing schedule and plan your entire calendar around it. If you need to reschedule a hearing date, ask the judge about it as soon as possible. You might also be able to send your deportation defense attorney in your place, but this is another request that has to go before a judge.
Contact a deportation defense attorney for more information.