Understanding Immigration Courts in Louisiana

Immigration court is unlike any other civil or criminal court in the United States. The rules are different and procedures are different. The process can be daunting and confusing. At Mayeaux & Associates L.C., our immigration attorneys in Louisiana help clients looking to adjust their status, seek asylum, or, among other things, defend against removal from the United States. Legal representation makes hearings more meaningful for immigrants and the process more efficient for the court system. Contact us at 225-754-4477 to schedule a free consultation. We will review your case and outline the best steps to take.

Types of Cases before Immigration Courts in Louisiana

The immigration court hears a wide range of cases related to immigration law. Some of the most common types of cases that go before the immigration court include:

  • Asylum Cases: Individuals who fear persecution in their home country due to their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group may apply for asylum in the United States. Asylum cases are typically heard by the immigration court.
  • Adjustment of Status: Individuals in the United States temporarily may be eligible to adjust their status to become lawful permanent residents. These cases are often heard in immigration court.
  • Bond Hearings: When an individual is detained by DHS, they may have the opportunity to request a bond hearing to determine whether they can be released from detention while their case is pending.
  • Cancellation of Removal: Individuals facing deportation but who have been living in the United States for a certain period of time (typically 10 years for undocumented immigrants and 7 years for permanent residents) may be eligible for cancellation of removal, which allows them to remain in the United States.
  • Convention Against Torture (CAT): Immigrants who fear they will be tortured if they are returned to their country of origin, birth, or citizenship, may qualify for relief under CAT if they can prove the likelihood of the same.
  • Removal Proceedings: These are cases where the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) seeks to deport an individual from the United States.
  • Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. Immigrant children may qualify for a green card or avoid deportation if they have been abused, abandoned, or neglected.
  • Violence Against Women Act (VAWA): Family members and children who have been subjected to abuse by a spouse or parent may qualify for legal status under VAWA if the abusive spouse or parent is a legal permanent resident or U.S. citizen.
  • Withholding of Removal: Immigrants who fear for their safety or freedom if they return to their country of origin may be able to obtain relief (similar to asylum) if they have been in the United States for more than a year.
  • Appeals: Individuals who have received an unfavorable decision from a USCIS officer or immigration judge may appeal their case to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), which is also part of the immigration court system.

The immigration court is not part of the criminal justice system and does not handle criminal cases. It is also not a part of the civil system and does not handle lawsuits or other civil matters. The immigration court is specific only to immigration matters and has its own procedures and timelines.

What to Expect at an Immigration Hearing in Louisiana

During an immigration hearing, the immigration judge will preside over the proceedings and make decisions based on the evidence and arguments presented by the parties involved. 

The following is a summary of the general flow of an immigration hearing. 

  1. Preliminary Matters: The judge will begin by identifying the parties, reviewing any relevant documents, and explaining the purpose of the hearing.
  2. Testimony and Evidence: The parties will present their case by offering evidence, documents, and witness testimony. The judge will ask questions to clarify any issues or inconsistencies in the evidence.
  3. Legal Arguments: The parties will also present legal arguments, citing relevant laws and regulations, to support their position.
  4. Closing Arguments: After all the evidence has been presented, the parties will have an opportunity to make closing arguments summarizing their case.
  5. Decision: The judge will then make a decision based on the evidence and arguments presented. If the case involves an individual's eligibility to remain in the United States, the judge may either grant relief or order the individual to be removed from the country.

Immigration hearings can be complex and involve many legal and factual issues. The parties may be represented by attorneys, and interpreters may be present if needed to assist with communication.

Legal Representation in an Immigration Court

In immigration court, an attorney can help you understand your legal options, prepare your case, and present the strongest possible arguments to the judge. In fact, it's highly recommended that you seek the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney, as the immigration court proceedings can be complex and the consequences of an adverse decision can be severe, such as deportation or denial of a visa application. 

An experienced immigration lawyer can also help you:

  • Identify any potential legal issues in your case
  • Gather evidence to support your case
  • Develop a legal strategy tailored to your individual circumstances
  • Ensure that your rights are protected throughout the court process

Contact an Immigration Attorney in Baton Rouge Today

While having an attorney is not required, it can greatly increase your chances of success in the immigration court. An attorney can help you prepare your case, gather evidence, present legal arguments, and protect your rights during the hearing.

At Mayeaux & Associates L.C., we will review your case and look for all possible solutions. If you qualify for a particular program, we will identify and prepare for it. If another type of relief applies, we will strategize and gather supporting documentation to build your case. Speak to our immigration attorneys in Baton Rouge today by filling out the online form or calling us at 225-754-4477 to schedule a free consultation and to discover what legal options are available.

Mayeaux & Associates L.C. Is Here for You

At Mayeaux & Associates L.C., we focus on the legal challenges every immigrant faces as they build new lives in the United States. We are here to listen to you and help you navigate the legal system.

Contact Us Today

From our offices in Baton Rouge and Kenner, the attorneys at Mayeaux & Associates L.C. are committed to answering your questions about your most important legal matters. We offer Free Consultations (in person or by telephone/video) and will gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.