Immigration enforcement and removal proceedings are integral components of immigration law in Orlando, Florida. Immigrants facing removal, commonly known as deportation, have certain rights and are entitled to due process. This article provides an overview of the rights afforded to immigrants in removal proceedings and outlines the legal procedures involved in Orlando, including bond hearings, immigration court appearances, and defenses against removal.
Rights of Immigrants in Removal Proceedings
Regardless of immigration status, individuals facing removal have fundamental rights protected under the U.S. Constitution. These rights include:
a. Right to Legal Representation: Immigrants in removal proceedings have the right to be represented by an immigration attorney at their own expense. Legal representation is crucial in navigating the complex immigration court process.
b. Notice to Appear (NTA): Immigrants are entitled to receive a Notice to Appear (NTA) that outlines the reasons for their removal and provides a date for their initial hearing before an immigration judge.
c. Right to Review Evidence: Immigrants have the right to review and challenge the evidence against them and present evidence in their favor. This includes the opportunity to submit supporting documents, witness testimonies, and other forms of evidence.
d. Right to an Interpreter: Non-English-speaking immigrants have the right to an interpreter during immigration court proceedings to ensure that they fully understand the proceedings and can effectively communicate their case.
e. Right to Appeal: Immigrants have the right to appeal an unfavorable decision by an immigration judge to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) and, in some cases, to federal courts.
Procedures in Removal Proceedings
The procedures involved in removal proceedings in Orlando typically follow a specific sequence:
a. Notice to Appear (NTA): The NTA is served to the immigrant, indicating the charges against them and the initiation of removal proceedings. The NTA includes information about the date, time, and location of the initial hearing.
b. Master Calendar Hearing: The first hearing is called a Master Calendar Hearing. During this hearing, the immigrant enters their plea, requests relief from removal, and may request additional time to find legal representation.
c. Individual Merits Hearing: If the immigrant contests the charges or requests relief, an Individual Merits Hearing is scheduled. At this hearing, the immigration judge evaluates the evidence, hears testimony, and decides whether the individual should be granted relief or face removal.
d. Bond Hearings: Immigrants who are detained may request a bond hearing to determine whether they can be released from custody while their removal proceedings are ongoing. The judge considers factors such as flight risk and danger to the community when deciding on bond eligibility.
Defenses Against Removal
Immigrants in removal proceedings have various defenses available to challenge their removal and seek relief, including:
a. Asylum or Refugee Status: Immigrants who fear persecution or have experienced past persecution in their home country may be eligible for asylum or refugee status if they meet specific criteria.
b. Cancellation of Removal: Certain immigrants who have been physically present in the United States for a specified period and can demonstrate exceptional and extreme hardship to a qualifying U.S. citizen or permanent resident may be eligible for cancellation of removal.
c. Adjustment of Status: Immigrants who are eligible for family-based or employment-based green cards may be able to adjust their status and obtain lawful permanent residency as a defense against removal.
d. Waivers: Some immigrants may be eligible for waivers of certain grounds of inadmissibility or deportability based on factors such as family unity, extreme hardship, or humanitarian reasons.
Understanding the rights and procedures involved in immigration enforcement and removal proceedings is crucial for immigrants facing the possibility of removal in Orlando. It is highly recommended for individuals in such situations to seek the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney who can provide guidance and representation throughout the process. Navigating the complexities of removal proceedings requires a thorough understanding of immigration law and the ability to build a strong defense against removal.