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12 Things You Should Know If You are Placed in Deportation Proceedings

If you’re experiencing the threat of being deported from the United States, we understand how difficult the process can be. You may be scared or frustrated, and the legal process is complex. To help you, the Atlanta immigration attorneys at Antonini & Cohen have put together this list of 12 things you should know in case you are placed into deportation proceedings.

1. You have the right to a hearing in front of an immigration judge.

Do not feel pressured to accept an order of deportation from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers once you have been detained. You have the right to ask an immigration judge to review your case before any final decision on your potential removal from the United States. You should tell the ICE officers you want to see an immigration judge.

2. You have the right to hire an attorney.

You have the right to hire an immigration lawyer for your removal hearing. The immigration judge must give you reasonable time to look for, speak with, and hire an attorney. It’s important you clearly state on the record you would like to have an attorney. To waive your right, the immigration judge would ask you directly whether you wish to proceed without a lawyer and you would answer affirmatively expressly waiving your right. Do not waive your right to an immigration attorney!

3. The immigration judge must provide you with a list of free and low-cost legal counsel.

The government will not appoint an attorney for you in deportation proceedings even if you can’t afford one. However, there are many free and low-cost legal service providers in Atlanta. Immigration judges must advise you about these services and confirm you have received a list of these qualified free or low-cost legal services. If you don’t already have this list, the immigration judge should ensure you receive it at your hearing.

4. You have the right to request an interpreter.

You have the right to understand everything happening in your removal proceedings, and you have the right to testify at your hearings. If you don’t speak English, these rights are protected by the availability of interpreters. You should state clearly at your first hearing the language or dialect in which you feel most comfortable communicating.

Even if you speak a lesser-known dialect, you shouldn’t feel pressured to accept an interpreter in any language other than the one you understand best and feel most comfortable speaking. Sometimes an interpreter is provided in your language, but he or she may not speak your dialect. If you don’t understand the interpreter or feel the interpretation is inaccurate, you should refuse the person and ask for a new interpreter.

5. You have the right to request time to prepare your case.