In my Consulta Migratoria® column this week, I answer a question from a reader who is considering skipping his next immigration court hearing.
Each case is different and the answers vary depending on each person's immigration history.
Here I provide general answers to your questions. Please consult with an immigration attorney to receive personalized legal advice before starting any procedure.
This is the column:
I am Cuban and I am out on bail after being detained for two months by immigration. I have no money to hire a lawyer and I am worried that I will be released.hat can happen to my case if I do not appear in immigration court or represent myself. I want to file for asylum and I have evidence that I believe would allow me to win my case. What should I do? -Elias S.
Elias, it is extremely important that you hire an attorney for an asylum case and that you do not miss your immigration court hearings. If you do not show up, you will lose your bond money and the immigration authorities could re-arrest you and detain you until your case is resolved.
If you do not appear at your hearing, you are in danger of being ordered deported because you are not there to defend yourself. The immigration judge may issue an order of removal against you in your absence if the government is able to show by clear and convincing evidence that you or your attorney received notice of the hearing and you are removable from the country.
There are exceptions if you can show that you missed your hearing for exceptional reasons beyond your control. If you do not go to your hearing and they issue an order of removal, the court considers the case closed. To have your case reconsidered because you had an exceptional reason beyond your control, an attorney will have to file a motion to reopen. This complicates matters and costs more money.
If the immigration judge issues a valid removal order against you, you will not be able to apply for certain kinds of immigration benefits for a period of 10 years, including voluntary departure, cancellation of removal, and adjustment of status.
Asylum cases are complicated and difficult to win, so you need a good immigration lawyer. The lawyer will help you file your asylum application and prepare you for your immigration court hearings.
There are very good immigration attorneys in private practice and in non-profit organizations. The most important thing is to make sure that you hire an experienced and licensed attorney to help you with your asylum application.
You say you have evidence that would allow you to win your asylum case. A lawyer can review it and tell you whether or not that evidence is sufficient. This is not something you can do on your own.
If you really have no money, you can turn to nonprofit organizations, which usually offer free or low-cost legal services. But due to high demand, they often cannot serve everyone who needs help. Keep in mind that there are lawyers who offer payment plans to help people with financial difficulties.
You can find the list of nonprofit organizations authorized by the U.S. Department of Justice by clicking here. click here.