Atlanta, GA – When an undocumented immigrant receives a Notice to Appear before the Immigration Court in Atlanta, the world around them starts crumbling. As any immigrant knows, the immigration hearing is the first step to them being deported back to their native country. For many, their first impulse is to leave town and skip the hearing, in the hope Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will forget about them. Before you do that, you should ask yourself whether this course of action is in your best interests.
Why you should not skip an immigration hearing
The Notice to Appear you’ve just received probably indicates the day of your first appearance before the Immigration Court in Atlanta. If it doesn’t you’ll receive another notice shortly. The prospect might be scary, but it’s often best if you do appear before the Immigration Court.
You risk an automatic removal order
Your failure to appear at the immigration hearing does not mean the procedure against you will be stalled or stopped. The hearing will take place without you and, in most cases, the judge will issue an automatic removal order, meaning you can be deported the moment DHS catches up with you. An automatic removal order makes you ineligible for a US visa for the next 10 years, and this means any type of visa.
You can negotiate a Voluntary Departure
You should try to do this if you believe you cannot defend yourself against the charge that your presence in the US is unlawful. You can do this at the first hearing, also known as the Master Calendar hearing. This way you avoid having a removal order on your record and it will be easier for you to try to return to Georgia legally.
You can prepare your defense
However, you should seek advice from an experienced immigration attorney before volunteering to leave the country. A seasoned lawyer will examine your case and determine what type of defense you can use. You may even qualify for a Green Card which would allow you to stay legally in the US.
How can I fight to stay in the US?
In Immigration Court you do not have the right to a public defender. You will have to bring your own Atlanta deportation attorney to the Master Calendar Hearing. Your case will be heard at the Merits Hearing which will be scheduled a few weeks later. Here are the three main ways you can defend yourself against a removal order.
Your lawyer can plead for your right to a Green Card if:
- You are married to a US citizen or you have close family members who are legal residents
- You can claim asylum if your lawyers can prove you would be persecuted in your country, on political or religious grounds
- You can ask for a cancellation of removal if you can prove you’ve been living in the US for the past 10 years, are of a good moral character and your removal would cause unusual hardship to your spouse, children, or parents who are lawful permanent residents.
If the removal proceedings are based on you being convicted for a certain crime, your lawyers may try to convince the court that the crime wasn’t really that serious and you should be allowed to keep your Green Card
If you are scheduled to appear before the Immigration Court, don’t waste any time and schedule an appointment with a trustworthy lawyer at Kuck | Baxter Immigration LLC in Atlanta or their South Georgia office.
Kuck | Baxter Immigration LLC
365 Northridge Road
Atlanta, GA 30350
Tel : (404) 816-8611
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