If you have been detained by ICE and served a Notice To Appear (NTA), then you need to respect the fact that the US government intends to see you removed from the country. This can be a highly stressful situation, where the failure to adequately defend your case can result in your deportation.

Here are four smart tips for how to prepare yourself for removal proceedings.

Know Your Rights

You have the right to a hearing. Despite this, you may not find such language featured in any notice about your removal proceedings.

You have the right to an attorney. Despite this, no lawyer will be supplied to you at the government’s expense. If you wish to have legal representation, you must hire the attorneys yourself, or else represent yourself in court.

You have the right to be understood. If you cannot speak English or have difficulty with the language, the court should supply an interpreter so that all matters are clearly understood.

Inform Yourself of Immigration Court Norms

Read up on how best to carry yourself in immigration court and removal proceedings. While every immigration judge is supposed to be impartial, they are ultimately asked to determine whether you should be allowed to stay in America, and some of these decisions could come down to their impressions of you.

Dressing well, showing all due respect, and properly addressing the judge can go a long way. Respecting the dignity of the proceedings and the possibly dire consequences shows that you understand this is very real and important.

Plan to Show Up No Matter What

Understand that any scheduled court dates are not a recommendation, but a requirement. If you do not show up to court for your own hearing, then the immigration judge will decide matters without you.

If you don’t show up, the judge will give the order to have you deported from the country. If you have any difficulties with scheduling or travel, you must keep the court informed.

Reach Out to an Experienced Deportation Defense Attorney

No attorney will be automatically assigned to you in the removal proceedings. What this means is that, if you do not hire your own lawyer, you will be defending yourself in court against experienced attorneys for the Department of Homeland Security. It can be extremely disheartening learning of removal hearings where children must defend themselves.

It shouldn’t be this way, but that’s our system today. If you’re facing the risk of deportation, you should hire a deportation defense lawyer without delay.

At Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C., our legal team has years of experience providing clients in the Bay Area with legal representation throughout removal proceedings. Contact our law office to schedule a free evaluation.