If you’re an immigrant, receiving a notice to appear (NTA) is never good news. An NTA often marks the beginning of removal proceedings. It does not necessarily mean you will be deported, but it does mean that you must appear before an immigration judge and make your case as to why you should be allowed to stay in the United States.
After you receive an NTA you have at least 10 days to prepare, though there are reasons to waive that right if you are in detention and don’t have a way to be released on bond.
What to Do When You Get an NTA in Immigration Court
The first thing you should do is call an immigration lawyer. An NTA is a major issue and should be taken seriously.
The second thing you should do is read your NTA very closely. Here is a sample form.
- The allegations. Is the claim that you are an arriving alien, an illegal immigrant, or admitted legally but removable? Those are three separate allegations requiring three separate legal strategies.
- The section that lays out the facts of the case. You should read it carefully and look for any inaccuracies you can discuss with your immigration lawyer.
- Read the “Charge of Removability.” This is the formal reason the government believes you should be removed from the United States.
- Note your hearing date. You must show up well before the time listed, and on the correct date, or a default judgment will be entered against you.
If you want to stay in the United States you will need to work with your attorney to identify a valid defense against your removal. That could be an argument that:
- The facts of the case are not accurate, and you are in compliance with the law. For example, if you are being accused of fraud, but can prove that what you said on your application was true, then we might use this defense.
- You have a valid adjustment of status application in progress.
- You are able to renew a form I-751 petition.
- You have the ability to apply for certain waivers that can help your case.
- You can apply for withholding of removal or relief under the Convention Against Torture.
- You are covered by the Dreamer Act, or Temporary Protected Status for other reasons.
- You are eligible for certain visas, like U-visas or VAWA visas.
- You can prove you were physically present in the US for at least 10 years before proceedings began, have shown good moral character for all 10 years, and that your removal would cause undue hardship to a US citizen or legal permanent resident who is your child, spouse, or parent.
Choosing the right deportation defense isn’t easy. However, I am here to make sure that you choose the strongest one that’s available to you.
If you’ve received an NTA, you have no time to lose. Contact my office here in Boston to get help today.