The threat of deportation is one of the scariest things that can happen to an immigrant seeking to live in the United States. It can take you away from your family, your friends and your dreams of a better future. If you have been summoned to deportation and removal proceedings, the best thing to do is not to panic or run, but to consult with a qualified immigration lawyer and understand what happens during the proceedings. Don't feel as though you have no rights. While you may not be a citizen of the United States, a good lawyer can give you a fighting chance.
The first step in deportation hearings is receiving the summons to appear in court. Known as a Notice to Appear, this will tell you the date, place and time of your hearing. When you receive your Notice to Appear, you should get a good lawyer to represent you in court. In the United States, everyone, even non-citizens, has the right to an attorney in front of a judge. This is especially useful if you don't speak English very well. You always have the right to remain silent. Make good use of it if need be!
Make sure you meet with an attorney as soon as you get the Notice to Appear. Your attorney will help you develop a plan to defend any allegations that you committed an illegal act or violated your immigrant status. Don't put this off, or your legal defense may suffer.
The next step is in the courtroom. Your job here, if you have an attorney, is simply to answer questions honestly and truthfully. Your lawyer will represent you and show evidence to the judge that you are a lawful immigrant, while the Department of Homeland Security's lawyer will attempt to prove the opposite. Your lawyer may also try to prove that even if you are deportable, you shouldn't be removed due to close ties to family or community, political asylum, or if you are eligible for an immediate change in immigration status. Again, you should consult with your lawyer about any of these possibilities.
The final step is the judge's ruling. The judge may rule that you are not deportable, he may rule that you are deportable but not choose to remove you, or he may choose to remove you.
If you are not deported but not removed, that means you get to stay in the United States. If the judge chooses to deport you, you may appeal the judge's decision and try the process again in a higher court of law.