The topic of immigration has been in the news a lot lately, especially with this administration’s proposed changes at the U.S./Mexico border. Regardless of any new legislation, the U.S. immigration process can be confusing and intimidating to people who wish to enter the United States. However, the procedures and regulations are necessary to make sure immigrants enter legally. If people from another country are in the United States illegally, they face removal (deportation) hearings. These cases could take months or even years to reach a resolution. That is why it is important to speak to an attorney who has experience in handling immigration court proceedings.
Removal or deportation proceedings begin when the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency issues a “Notice to Appear” (NTA). The NTA is a formal document against a person (respondent) because he or she entered or is present in the United States without authorization. The NTA lists the specific legal reasons why authorities believe that you are in the country unlawfully. It also serves as notification that you will be scheduled for immigration proceedings in the immigration court. Depending on how busy the court system is, the first hearing may not be for months. However, if someone has been detained by immigration officials, the hearing will take place as soon as possible.
Immigration proceedings occur in three stages:...