Although individuals are not required to have an attorney present during their deportation proceeding, a recent article highly recommends that you have one. Your chances of a favorable outcome are about 50-50 with an attorney. Without an attorney, however, the chances of avoiding deportation are lower than 2 percent, based on a study of unrepresented immigrants in deportation proceedings.
One reason for this complexity might be the area of law: immigration law is both complex and frequently changing. Unless you are an attorney who focuses on this practice area, you might not understand or be aware of all your rights during a deportation proceeding. Language barriers might be another reason that unrepresented immigrants fare so poorly.
Although undocumented immigrants may not have followed proper procedures to enter the country, this does not mean that they don’t have a legal basis for remaining. In fact, many undocumented immigrants may have been fleeing persecution or violence.
Although undocumented immigrants have the right to an attorney in their deportation proceeding, many may not be able to afford one. Unlike a criminal case, immigration court does not provide legal counsel regardless of one’s ability to pay.
One of the benefits of consulting with an attorney who focuses on immigration law is their ability to act swiftly. If you have already received notice of a removal hearing, an attorney needs to act quickly to review the factual context and determine what legal reasons you may have for requesting to stay lawfully in this country. Our law firm has appeared many times before the Board of Immigration Appeals and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
Source: Davis Enterprise, “Fighting deportation without a lawyer,” Kathy Robertson, Mar. 18, 2018