Do you have a right to see an immigration judge even if you committed a crime?

Do you have a right to see  an immigration judge even  if you committed a crime?

“ In the United States, the law gives rights to foreign nationals. Some of these rights include due process and appeals. This is why you can fight your case and this is why ICE cannot simply throw you outside of the U.S.”

QUESTION: I committed a crime and have my green card. With Trump, I fear that I will be thrown out of the U.S. Is this true?

Answer: No. There is a great deal of fear going across the U.S. right now that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will come to your door, put you in handcuffs and deport you outside the U.S. without a hearing or without due process of any kind. I have heard of officers actually doing this. Some of the officers seem to want to bypass the law and to try to deport as many people as they can. However, you DO NOT have to sign a voluntary deportation paper. ICE officials cannot force you to do this (no matter what they say or how they might lie to you.)

Rather, in most cases, you have a right to fight your case in front of an immigration judge in removal proceedings. As long as you have been in the U.S. for at least two years, this is unquestionable that you have this right under the law. Otherwise, if foreign nationals did not have this right, then there would not be any need for immigration courts. In fact, there are immigration courts all over the U.S. and foreign nationals in every state are fighting to stay in the country, even though they committed a crime. The laws being the Immigration and Nationality Act, Code of Federal Regulations, Foreign Affairs Manual, Board of Immigration Appeals Cases, Circuit Court Cases, Department Memos, and Supreme Court Cases all allow fighting your case in immigration court when convicted of a crime. If this were not the case, and if ICE could simply round up a bunch of people and throw them out of the U.S., there would be no need for immigration courts and for appeals to the Board of Immigration Appeals.

In the United States, the law gives rights to foreign nationals. Some of these rights include due process and appeals. This is why you can fight your case and this is why ICE cannot simply throw you outside of the U.S. ICE officials do not have legal training. Many are relatively new to the job. Many will lie and not tell you the truth. Be sure to call an immigration attorney who has experience with deportation and removal proceedings. Be sure not to sign any papers that ICE puts in front of you.

Q: Assuming that I get to an immigration court, what can I fight for under the law?

A: There are many forms of relief you are able to fight for under the law. Each case is different. Some crimes do not actually make you deportable. Other crimes allow you to fight for cancellation of removal for lawful permanent residents or cancellation of removal for non-permanent residents. Other cases allow you to apply for derivative citizenship. Other cases allow you to apply for asylum, withholding of removal or convention against torture. Still, other cases allow you to apply for waivers.

There are many types of waivers available under the Immigration and Nationality Act. These are not petitions or applications made up by immigration attorneys, but rather, they are codified in the Immigration and Nationality Act. They provide you the ability to essentially ask the immigration judge to forget about the crime and to permit you to stay in the U.S.

Q: If I lose, will I be immediately deported?

A: No. Along with your right to fight in immigration court, you have the right to appeal. First, you can appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals. Hopefully, that will win. However, if not, you can then do a petition for review to the Circuit Court of Appeal. If you do not win there, you can do a motion for hearing en banc and then you can do a writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court. There are lots of ways to both fight and appeal your case. Don’t let ICE simply throw you out of the U.S.

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Atty. Brian D. Lerner has been an Immigration Attorney for nearly a quarter of a century. He is married to a Filipina and has helped thousands of Filipino families all over the country. In addition to his offices in Southern California in Long Beach and Carson, he has an office in Quezon City. He is a certified specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Legal Board of Specialization, California State Bar. The initial consultation is free. Call (562) 495-0554 and/or send an e-mail to blerner@californiaimmigration.us.

 

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