When you attend a removal or deportation hearing before an Immigration Judge, make sure that you walk into the courtroom accompanied by the most experienced and knowledgeable immigration attorney that you can find.
Because the government will be represented by an attorney who has probably appeared in hundreds, or even thousands, of such hearings. (I know – I once served as an INS Trial Attorney.) If your attorney is not knowledgeable or is inexperienced, you will be at a distinct disadvantage.
Too many people appear at their deportation hearings without taking the time to find the best and most experienced immigration attorney to represent them. Instead, they look for an inexpensive attorney or, worse yet, appear without an attorney. This is a recipe for disaster. Why? Because you are creating a record before the Immigration Judge. If you lose, and then hire a new and improved attorney to appeal the Judge’s decision, he will be saddled with the record of proceedings that you, or your inexpensive attorney, created before the Judge.
The record of proceedings consists of the transcript of the hearing and the exhibits, including copies of any applications submitted on your behalf. If you do not make a good record before the Judge, it may be difficult for your new attorney to win your appeal.
The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) is located in Falls Church, Virginia. The BIA never sees nor hears from you. They only see the printed record, the decision of the Immigration Judge and the attorneys’ legal briefs. If the BIA rules against you and you finally decide to hire a great immigration attorney to take your case to Federal Court, the court must rely on the record of proceedings. You never get the chance to testify in court.
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