Representation in Immigration Court
Los Angeles Immigration Lawyers
Paniotto Law Firm provides legal representation in Los Angeles, Adelanto Immigration Court, Otay Mesa Immigration court, San Diego Immigration court and out of state immigration courts.
IF YOU RECEIVED A “NOTICE TO APPEAR” from the Immigration Service or another letter from the immigration court requiring you to appear in immigration court on a certain date, we urge you to make an appointment with our office by calling (213)534-1827 for a first free consultation so that we could advise you what to do next.
If you received Notice to Appear this means that you are in this country without documents and the US. government seeks to deport you back to your country of origin based on the undocumented presence charges or in some cases based on the commission of a deportable criminal offense by you.
Immigration Court handles cases of individuals in removal/deportation proceedings that usually take place in the area where undocumented immigrant is being detained or where he/she resides. Normally, an individual in deportation (or removal) proceedings can not be deported without an opportunity to seek relief – various immigration benefits in immigration court. Such immigration relief/benefits may include political asylum, adjustment of status to that of a permanent resident based on permanent residency/citizenship of immigrant’s relatives , cancellation of removal, and other immigration benefits. If the immigration court decides that immigrant is eligible for permanent residency based on one of the listed forms of immigration relief or other forms of immigration relief, the immigrant will not be deported and instead will be granted permanent residency status in the U.S.
WHY DO I NEED A LAWYER IN IMMIGRATION COURT?
Unlike in criminal court proceedings immigrants who are being deported through an immigration court system do not have a right to hire a free public defender and are usually requested by the judge to find a private attorney to represent them in immigration court. The immigration law and immigration court procedures are usually very complex and difficult to understand, especially for the immigrants who are often uneducated, unsophisticated and do not speak English fluently. Qualified immigration lawyers are normally familiar with both the immigration law and immigration court procedures. Even though the final decision in your immigration case will be made by an immigration judge, if you are represented by a qualified immigration lawyer in the immigration court, skilled immigration lawyer may dramatically increase your chances of winning the case and either getting your greencard back or getting a greencard through immigration court.
WARNING: IF YOU ARE APPROACHED BY SOME PEOPLE INSIDE THE LOS ANGELES IMMIGRATION COURT WHO WILL ASK YOU IF YOU HAVE AN IMMIGRATION LAWYER OR IF YOU NEED AN IMMIGRATION LAWYER, THEY ARE THE AGENTS OF SOME LAWYERS WHO ARE WITHOUT DOCUMENTS TRYING TO GET CLIENTS INSIDE THE LOS ANGELES IMMIGRATION COURT. AS SOON AS YOU MEET THESE AGENTS, REPORT THEM TO THE LOS ANGELES IMMIGRATION COURT GUARDS AND LOS ANGELES IMMIGRATION COURT ADMINISTRATION. IMMIGRATION LAWYERS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO HARASS YOU INSIDE THE LOS ANGELES IMMIGRATION COURT TRYING TO INFLUENCE YOUR DECISION ON WHAT IMMIGRATION LAWYER YOU WANT TO HIRE. IF YOU, ON THE OTHER HAND WANT TO APPROACH AN IMMIGRATION LAWYER AND SEEK HIS ASSISTANCE INSIDE THE LOS ANGELES IMMIGRATION COURT, YOU MAY DO SO.
AVISO: Si a usted se le a acercado personas a dentro de la Corte de Inmigración de Los Angeles para preguntarle si tiene un abogado para ayudarle o para preguntarle si nenecita un abogado, ellos son los agentes de otros abogados quien están atrayendo clientes sin documentos adentro de la Corte de Inmigración. Al instante que estas personas se acerquen, repórtelos a los guardias de la Corte de Inmigración de Los Angeles y a la Administración de Corte de Inmigración de Los Angeles. Abogados de inmigración no tienen permiso de acosarlos adentro de la Corte de Inmigración de Los Angeles o tratar de influir en tomar la decisión de quien tiene que contratar por abogado. Pero, sin embargo si usted toma la iniciativa de acercarse a un abogado para solicitar su asistencia adentro de la Corte de Inmigración de Los Angeles, lo puede hacer
What happens if I do not attend the immigration court hearing?
The U.S. immigration laws require that the immigrant who has an appointment with immigration court, attend every immigration court hearing regardless of whether you have an immigration lawyer to represent you in immigration court or not.
If you fail to appear at the immigration court hearing without a good excuse like severe illness or death in the family, the immigration court judge will issue a deportation order against you in absentia. Once the deportation order is issued, the immigration officers/ ICE unit officers will have a right to go to your house to arrest you and deport you.
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.
How many hearings do I need to attend in the immigration court?
The number of immigration court hearings varies depending on the nature of your immigration case. Some immigration cases may take more than 7 or 8 immigration court hearings and several years to process through the immigration court system. This may happen due to the complexity of your immigration case, due to additional continuances (changes in immigration court dates) requested by you, your immigration lawyer, government immigration lawyer or made by the immigration judge on his own initiative. Some immigration court date changes (continuances) happen because you changed your immigration lawyers.
Some immigration cases, on the other hand do not last more than 6 months. Regardless of how long your immigration court case will last, you must be patient and must attend every immigration court hearing to avoid deportation order in absentia.
Can I travel during my immigration court proceedings?
The immigration court proceedings are called “removal proceedings” – which basically mean that that the U.S. government is trying to remove/deport you from the United States back to your country by virtue of the immigration court removal proceedings. If you want to help the U.S. government to accomplish this goal sooner rather than later, go ahead and travel during the deportation proceedings.
Traveling during the immigration court proceedings may be fatal to your immigration case and should be avoided unless a true emergency exists that may be more important for you than your right to stay in the United States legally.
Immigration court logistics.
Los Angeles immigration court is one of the busiest immigration courts in the nation. It has more than 24 judges and is serving the greater Los Angeles area and the surrounding areas of southern California with a population of over 16 million people. Each judge at any given time may handle up to three to four thousand deportation cases. The following is some general information about Los Angeles Immigration Court that may be helpful for you:
The office hours of the Los Angeles Immigration Court are as follows:
The Los Angeles Immigration Court is open 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The information window is open on the fifteenth floor of the 606 S. Olive Ave Immigration court building for filings and other matters from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Hearings commence at 8:30 a.m. each morning and 1:00 p.m. each afternoon.
The Los Angeles Immigration Court is located at 606 S. Olive Street, at the southeast corner of 6th Street and Olive Street in downtown Los Angeles, south of Pershing Square park. From the Harbor Freeway, #110, take the 6th Street off ramp and go east on 6th Street to Olive Street. For your convenience, you may use the following mapping service Yahoo! Maps. Upon entering the building, take the elevators on the south end of the lobby to the 15th floor where the daily calendars are posted and the information window is located. The courtrooms are located on the 14th, 16th and 17th floors.
The Los Angeles Immigration Court's address is:
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Los Angeles Immigration Court
606 S. Olive Street, 15th Floor Los Angeles, California 90014
The Los Angeles Immigration Court's telephone number is (213)894-2811.
IF you need to get information about your immigration case through the Los Angeles Immigration Court Information System call 1-800-898-7180. This automated system will provide information about your next Los Angeles immigration court hearing date, asylum processing information, Immigration judge’s decision information, immigration case appeal information and filing information. The information is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, unless the Immigration court system is under routine maintenance check which usually happens at night. If you call the immigration court information line and can not get the immigration case information, do not be alarmed, just try to call during the day. The Immigration court information will be provided in either English or Spanish. You must have the immigrant registration number to obtain the immigration case information.
The hearings for detainees are usually conducted in Lancaster Immigration Court and San Pedro Immigration Court with the exception of the detained juvenile hearings conducted at the Federal Building, 300 N. Los Angeles Street, 8th Floor, Room 8547, Los Angeles. These hearings are conducted on Wednesday afternoon at 1:00 p.m.
What about parking near Los Angeles Immigration Court?
Because its extremely important for you to arrive promptly to attend your Los Angeles immigration court hearing, finding affordable parking near the Los Angeles Immigration court is very important. There is a number of parking lots near the Los Angeles Immigration Court on the Olive street. The most popular parking lots of course are the closest to the Los Angeles Immigration court. The Pershing Square underground parking lot half a block down pass the immigration court building has a maximum fee of around $12 and is only 3 minutes or so walking distance from the Los Angeles Immigration court. The parking lots on both sides of the Olive street between the 8th street and the 6th street are the most popular. Unfortunately, owners of the parking lot on the Olive street that’s right next to the 606 S. Olive Los Angeles Immigration court building, having decided to test the operation of certain economic doctrines of demand and supply, had recently (in November 2006) raised its maximum daily fee to $18 which made this formerly very convenient parking lot too expensive for many Los Angeles Immigration court visitors.
Also, beware of the unscrupulous parking lot owners near Los Angeles Immigration Court who place the signs on the side of the road with large “$3 “ written on them – if you read closer, the “$3” are for EACH FIFTEEN MINUTES – and not for the whole day as you might think hastily trying to park near the Los Angeles Immigration court to avoid late arrival to your immigration court hearing.
Other details about Los Angeles Immigration court:
- there are sometimes long lines outside of the Los Angeles Immigration court building – standing in that line may delay your arrival to immigration court hearing for 15 – 20 minutes and sometimes much longer ; so arrive ahead of time to attend your Los Angeles immigration court hearing
- Los Angeles Immigration court is located in downtown Los Angeles – so in the morning hours the traffic may be brutal and you may get stuck in traffic and be late for your Los Angeles Immigration court hearing, so try to leave your home early
- Some of the immigration judges may get very upset if you stand in the Los Angeles Immigration court courtroom – if you can’t find a seat, register with the immigration court clerk and wait outside in the hallway if the immigration court guard allows or in the immigration court waiting room – and check periodically with the immigration clerk for your turn to talk to the immigration judge. If you are represented by an immigration lawyer, your immigration lawyer will give you instructions on what to do
- Some immigration judges may get even angrier if they see you /or hear your talking to another person while you are sitting in the Los Angeles immigration court courtroom and if your cellphone rings, you will really be in trouble. Turn your cellphone off once you are inside of the Los Angeles Immigration court.