Immigration courts are part of the U.S. judicial system, and like U.S. citizens, undocumented immigrants have rights when they appear before a judge.
However, their rights are not exactly the same, and that becomes obvious when it comes to the deportation trial process.
Immigrants’ rights in a deportation proceeding
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, most undocumented immigrants facing deportation have rights to the following:
- A hearing in an immigration court with legal representation
- Reasonable notification of what the charges are, and when and where the hearing is
- Reasonable opportunity to see the evidence against them as well as the witnesses
- Proof of the validity of the government’s grounds for deporting them
If immigrants do not speak English well enough to understand the proceedings, there should be a competent interpretation for them.
Ways deportation proceedings may differ
The Conversation US, Inc., explains that a lack of adequate funding and staffing for the immigration court system may cause issues in the fairness of the trial. Even though immigrants have their moment in court, they may have to wait for months or even years, and the proceedings may feel rushed.
Immigrants who receive deportation orders from a judge may appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals. The BIA decides tens of thousands of cases each year, and to save time and keep things running quickly, the panel often issues a decision without explanation. So, an immigrant may appeal and receive notice that the BIA confirmed the deportation order without ever finding out why.
Proper preparation may make all the difference in the outcome.