If you are a foreign national convicted of or charged with certain crimes, you may be threatened with deportation, along with prison. If you are convicted and serve time, you might be released, only to be removed from the U.S. and separated from your family.
These are separate legal issues that each need your attention. Some defense attorneys in the Dallas area practice both criminal defense and removal defense, but not all of them do.
Immigration court hearings
If you have received a Notice to Appear (NTA), you are probably wondering about the process, especially if you will get to argue your side in court. There are three types of Immigration Court hearings.
- The Master Hearing, where an attorney representing the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) must show that you are not a U.S. citizen and that you have violated immigration law by breaking criminal law. You and your attorney will inform the judge what application you plan to submit to remain in the U.S. before the judge sets a date for the next hearing.
- An Individual Hearing, during which you can present evidence that you are eligible to remain in the United States, based on the type of application you submitted. For example, you can apply to stay in the country based on a family relationship, fear of persecution in your country of origin, or your time living in this country. The prosecutor will also present evidence against you. At the end of the hearing, the immigration judge will announce their decision whether or not to let you stay in the country.
- A Bond Hearing, if you are being kept in jail by ICE and want the judge to set a bond figure, so you can post bond and free yourself pending your individual hearing. This is not always an option.
Again, if you are facing deportation due to criminal charges, you need to meet with an attorney as soon as possible. The best attorney for your case could be one who regularly defends clients in immigration court as well as criminal court.