Do I need to bring an immigration lawyer to my first immigration court hearing?
Do I need to bring an immigration lawyer to my first immigration court hearing
Although it is advisable for you to find a qualified immigration lawyer as soon as you received an appointment letter with immigration court, if you don’t yet have the money to hire an immigration lawyer, you can go to the first hearing alone.
Once you come to the immigration court, you have to find the courtroom where you were scheduled to appear.
In the immigration court courtroom you have to talk to the immigration court clerk who is usually sitting on the side of the immigration judge’s desk. The immigration court clerk will register your presence in the immigration court courtroom to make sure the immigration judge does not deport you based on your failure to appear in immigration court.
Its very important to let the immigration court clerk know that you’ve arrived to the immigration court. After checking in you should quietly sit down if the space is available in the immigration court courtroom and wait to be called by the immigration clerk.
When your name is called, and you are talking to the immigration judge you should tell the immigration judge that you WOULD LIKE TO GET A CONTINUANCE TO HIRE AN IMMIGRATION LAWYER TO REPRESENT YOU IN YOUR IMMIGRATION COURT PROCEEDINGS.
The immigration judges are usually generous with continuances for unrepresented immigrants to get an immigration lawyer. However, if you’ve already had one continuance to get an immigration lawyer, and still could not find a lawyer or still do not have the money to hire an immigration lawyer, you can not get continuances forever.
Usually after the first two continuances to get an immigration lawyer, the immigration judges lose patience and may insist that you represent yourself before the immigration court in applying for asylum, cancellation of removal, adjustment of status or any other case to get a greencard/permanent residency in the United States.
If you feel comfortable representing yourself in immigration court, you have a right to do so. Most people do not know immigration law and immigration court procedures and are not able to competently represent themselves in immigration court. If you don’t feel comfortable to represent yourself in immigration court, the best course of action would be to hire a Los Angeles based immigration lawyer as soon as possible and even if you don’t do it before the first immigration court hearing, you should certainly hire an immigration lawyer after the immigration judge granted the first continuance to you and should not test immigration judge’s patience.