Many people wonder whether they would be arrested if they go to their immigration interview or court hearing in New York City. This has been asked so many times that until recently I felt comfortable advising my clients that they would not be arrested. However, as is the case with most things in life, there are exceptions.
Just this week, I had a client who had a pending deportation/removal case before the Immigration Court in New York City. This was actually the second time my client and I were in Court on this case. So, it is obvious that my client had no intention to hide or run away from the immigration authorities. But, guess what happened? After our Court hearing the attorney for the government advised the Judge and me that there were Immigration Officers from DHS (Immigration Customs Enforcement – “ICE”) waiting
for my client. I was obviously shocked, surprised and angry at the same time. Why in the world did the government attorney not tell me beforehand? Did they really think that had the government attorney told me, I would have told my client to make a run for it? I was simply disgusted by this tactic used by my government – no . . . by our government.
This is just an example of how the government continues to abuse our immigration laws and waste taxpayers money. It is a despicable act. My client, who is represented by a lawyer, was taken into custody for no logical reason. He does not pose a threat and certainly is not a flight risk since he showed up to Court several times. Luckily for him, he had a lawyer that accompanied him to the hearing. So, we will feverishly work to attempt to get him released from custody immediately.
Now, this article is not mean to scare you to not show up to a scheduled hearing. That would be stupid and would probably put you in worse position. In fact, the series of events that befell this client is actually very rare. The point of me telling the story is simple. If you have fears, do not go to Court without a lawyer. The fact that my client had a lawyer actually had a great impact. I was able to speak with the Immigration Officer in order to speed up his processing. Furthermore, the government was aware that he had a lawyer, and as such should not question my client outside my presence.