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Can you appeal an immigration decision?

The U.S. immigration system is confusing, and the recent changes in immigration law have made it more so. If you are facing deportation, you are probably wondering about your options.

You will receive an Notice to Appear (NTA) from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. The NTA will include basic information about you, as well as the reasons you are facing deportation. You will receive at least a ten-day notice, before you are scheduled to appear in immigration court.

What to expect at a merits hearing

A merits hearing may decide whether you get to stay in the country. At the hearing, you appear before an immigration judge. You can present testimony and evidence to support your case for staying in country.

You also have the right to be represented by an immigration attorney at the hearing. The government will have an ICE attorney arguing its case for your deportation. Hearings can last hours or days.

At the end of hearing, the immigration judge issues a decision orally or in writing. If you are not present at the hearing, a copy of the decision is mailed to you.

You can appeal a merits hearing decision

If the judge rules that you are to be deported, that does not mean you must immediately leave the country. You have the right to an appeal. The judge will ask you if you want to waive the appeal or accept the decision, you should say no to either question if you want to appeal. Accepting the decision is the same as waiving your option to appeal deportation.

You must appeal quickly

After the judge delivers his or her decision, you have 30 days to appeal your deportation to the Board of Immigration Appeals. You must fill out paperwork to appeal deportation. An immigration attorney can help you put together the necessary documents and represent you throughout the process.

If you choose not to appeal the decision, your case is usually over, and you will be deported. However, if you agreed to accept the final decision at the merits hearing and did not understand what that meant, you may still have a chance. You should reach out an attorney immediately to discuss your options.

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    Houston, TX 77018

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