A person (respondent) placed in removal proceedings at Immigration Court have several important rights which he or she can exercise.
1. Right to Retained Immigration Counsel – Pursuant to INA section 239(a)(1)(E) and INA section 240(b)(4)(A) the respondent has the right to retain an immigration attorney to defend the case. Unlike criminal courts, there is no right to court appointed lawyers for people that are poor. The immigration lawyer must competently represent the individual according to cases that have interpreted the 5th Amendment to the United States Constitution. In expedited removal proceedings the right to counsel is limited to the extent that the representation does not delay the process. An individual that represents themselves, even if he or she cannot afford to hire an immigration attorney, cannot successfully argue ineffective assistance of counsel. Whoever self represents bears the risk and the responsibility for that decision. It is important to retain legal counsel for any type of removal proceeding. A great suggestion is to retain the law firm of Hilf & Hilf, PLC for effective legal representation.
2. Notification of Legal Services – an individual (respondent) has the right to be given a list of available legal services that are updated quarterly. It is important to note that there is no guarantee that a particular legal service will accept the individual’s case, or the services that are provided, if any, will rise to the level of a competent, licensed immigration attorney. More often than not, you get the value of what you pay.