Do I need representation for a removal hearing? 2 Answers as of April 04, 2011

I got married in 2001. I got my green card in 2003. In sept 2010 I was questioned by INS officers while returning from vacation at the airport regarding an arrest in 1999 (for class D possession). Officers recommended that to avoid future airport issues I apply for citizenship ASAP. I did just that. In February this year I was questioned again by INS at the airport for the same reason. Under their advice I carried the necessary court paperwork from the 1999 incident whilst travelling and told them that I had applied for citizenship too. They informed me that since my last trip in September, legislation had changed and they were unable to 'sign off' on my entry to the US and that I would need to go before a judge. They assured me that this was a purely an administrative situation but it has made me rather nervous. My naturalization process goes on, and I have recently completed the biometrics part of the application and am currently waiting for a 'test date.' Do I need representation for the removal hearing? I simply cant afford a lawyer right now. My hearing is on 4-5-11. Any help or advice you could provide would be invaluable.

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Nicastro Piscopo, APLC
Nicastro Piscopo, APLC | Louis M. Piscopo
If you are being put into proceedings your naturalization application will likely be put on hold by the USCIS. Once an Notice to Appear is issued the USCIS can denied your the Naturalization application. The immigration courts have a list of low cost or pro bono (free) legal service providers if you cannot afford an attorney. You need to seek the assistance of an attorney regarding your matter since you may find yourself being deported from the U.S.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/4/2011
Theresa E. Tilton, Attorney at Law
Theresa E. Tilton, Attorney at Law | Theresa E. Tilton
You need a attorney to represent you for this removal hearing. You will be at a disadvantage if you do not have a lawyer. Raise the funds in any legal way you can, for instance, a garage sale, or offer to trade some services with a lawyer. How your arrest affects your application is a legal question. A lot depends on how your case was resolved, whether you were prosecuted and convicted, what your behavior has been since that time.

So many of the questions on this board have to do with how to minimize the bad consequences of illegal actions. When you have a black mark on your record, it is best to be matter-of-fact and humble about the situation. "It was wrong, I have learned a lesson, I will not do that again" will go a long way to easing the interview.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 4/4/2011
Click to View More Answers: