5 Things You Need to Know About Immigration Court

Close to half a million immigrants are currently in pending removal proceedings. Most of these people are coming from Mexico through California which has the most cases at approximately 90,000, and Texas which comes in  second with around 80,000 cases. New York, New Jersey and Florida follow in terms of caseload. With statistics like these, it’s likely that someone you know is facing -or has faced- Immigration Court. Here are some important facts and statistics for you to understand about Immigration Court before you go to trial.

1. Removal and Deportation are the same thing.

Congress changed the word in the law as of April 1, 1997. So if you have been served with a Notice to Appear in Removal Proceedings in Immigration Court, you should immediately seek advice from a superior immigration law firm with a strong team of attorneys, as you may be facing removal or deportation from the United States.

2. Tens of thousands of immigrants with cases in Immigration Court are detained including women and children.

The US government has detained immigrants including women and small children for months and even years. These places are not a summer camp, and can have tough conditions for longer stays -especially for the young or the sick. If you or someone you know is threatened with detention, get the help of an Immigration Lawyer immediately, as they will know the current laws to help you as quickly as possible.

3. Nationwide the average wait for a trial is around 22 months…

But the reality is many cities have a three-plus year wait for a final hearing. Again, it is possible to get lost in the system under the sheer numbers of immigration cases waiting to be heard. This means that for many people, their lives ( marriages, families, jobs) are on hold while they are waiting to hear an outcome. Hiring a lawyer who specializes in immigration is the best way to ensure that you get in and out as fast as possible.

4. The Government has a lawyer present to prosecute you. You will need a great defense in Immigration Court.

Many people don’t realize that Immigration Court is just that: a court. According to a Los Angeles Times survey, your chance of winning your case without an attorney is seventeen times less!

5. You wouldn’t go to your dentist for heart surgery.

Make sure you get a lawyer who specializes in this field. He or she will know all the regulations and your chances of winning will go up exponentially. This isn’t some administrative proceedings; immigration law has been called one of the most complex fields of law there is. Be prepared, and bring someone who knows the ropes. If you have any questions about this post, or any other Immigration Related topics, please don’t hesitate to contact me.


Written by: Harlan York

Immigration Attorney Harlan York is Former Chair, Immigration Section, NJ State Bar Association and Former Co-Chair, NY State Bar Association CFLS Immigration Committee. Mr. York appeared on National Television on CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose and Primer Impacto on Univision, as well as Telemundo, NBC, and PBS. He was honored as First Ever Immigration Lawyer of The Year in NJ by Best Lawyers.

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