What Authority Do Immigration Courts Have?

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What Are Immigration Courts?

Immigration courts are a separate court system run by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). They are located all over the United States in major immigration hubs. These courts are special administrative courts that only deal with immigration-related cases. Immigration court judges have broad authority over the cases brought before them in court.

What Can Immigration Court Judges Do?

Immigration court judges have the ability to decide whether someone is removable or deportable. At the same time, judges can stop a deportation, offer asylum, or grant protection to an individual under the United Nations Convention Against Torture. Judges may also review evaluations of foreign nationals accused by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of violating U.S. immigration laws.

Immigration court judges also have the power to rule on motions, issue subpoenas, and order pre-trial conferences.

What Can Immigration Court Judges Not Do?

Although Immigration court judges exercise broad authority, there are several immigration-related issues that immigration court judges do not have control over. These include visa petitions and employment authorizations. These are usually handled by the Department of State. Also, immigration court judges do not have the ability to accept or revoke naturalization.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Immigration Court?

If your case is being brought before an immigration court, it is important that you hire an immigration attorney. Your attorney can advise you throughout the immigration process. It is always best to hire an immigration lawyer when your immigration status is at stake because it might mean the difference between staying in the country or having to leave.

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Last Modified: 05-28-2014 10:38 AM PDT

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