A foreign national in the United States who has violated immigration law may be required to leave the country through a legal process known as deportation or removal proceedings. To help you understand this process, we’ve described the basic case steps below. But it’s important to discuss the specifics of your case with an experienced immigration attorney in Chicago.
Receiving a Notice to Appear from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may be the first indication that removal charges have been filed against you. In other cases, you may be detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and may need to post a bond to be released.
Seeking the services of a knowledgeable immigration attorney can help you build a strong defense against the removal charges and determine the best course of action. Immigration help scams are common, so be sure to contact a licensed attorney.
Our team will review the charges against you and all relevant evidence to determine if we can assist you. Hiring a lawyer is a big commitment, and we won’t pressure you or mislead you about the chances for success in your case. If you do move forward with us, payment plans are available.
We’ll work together to explore the best options for you to stay in the U.S. legally and take any steps possible to resolve your case. If you are an undocumented immigrant, for example, it may be possible to adjust your status to become a lawful resident.
You will be required to appear in front of an immigration judge (IJ) for a master calendar hearing. You must attend this hearing, even if you don’t yet have an attorney or a defense against the charges. Failing to show up can lead to an automatic order of removal.
If the IJ decides your case will proceed, then a merits hearing will be scheduled. You’ll have an opportunity to tell the judge how you plan to defend against the charges during your master calendar hearing, but the charges won’t actually be addressed until the merits hearing.
As you wait for the scheduled merits hearing, your attorney will assist you in gathering documents, photographs, and other forms of evidence that may support your right to remain in the U.S. Sworn statements from people who know you or experts may also be used to support your case.
During the merits hearing, you will be able to speak in your own defense against the removal proceedings. You will answer questions asked by your attorney and by an attorney for DHS. These hearings can last for hours or days.
The immigration judge will normally make a decision and issue a ruling on the same day the hearing ends. However, if the immigrant is not being detained, the decision may be sent by mail, and the person is allowed to remain with their family until the decision is received.
The judge will either grant you relief from removal or issue an order of removal. In both situations, it may be possible to appeal the decision. If an appeal is needed, or filed by ICE, our office will assist you. We won’t quit until your immigration court matter is fully resolved.
It is important to take action quickly if the government has begun removal proceedings against you. There may be options to keep you in the country legally, and our Chicago immigration lawyers can help. Contact our office today to schedule your consultation.
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