5 Things to Gather for a Deportation Defense Case

1. The person’s A number

A deportation defense case is technically called a “removal defense case.” When someone is placed in removal proceedings, that person is assigned an A number if he or she does not already have one. This is the 8 or 9 digit number that immigration uses to identify someone. With this number you can call the Immigration Court hotline (1-800-898-7180) to get case status information. After you enter the A number, you can listen to a recording of the next court date or the timeline for a person’s employment authorization (work permit).

If you hire an immigration lawyer for removal (deportation) defense, that lawyer will definitely want the A number. Usually, you can find the A number on letters and other documents from ICE and the immigration court. Examples of such documents are the Notice to Appear and the I-213. If your relative is detained at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington, he or she will have a bracelet with the A number written on it.

2. Any prior deportation defense or other immigration case documents

If the person has any prior immigration cases, it is very important to find all the documents you can connected to those cases. Sometimes, it can really help a case if the person already applied for an immigration benefit or if someone else applied for him or her. It may be necessary to do a Freedom of Information Act Request (FOIA) to get the case files from USCIS.

3. Birth certificates and other documents for US citizen and permanent resident family members

If the person has US citizen or permanent resident family members, make sure to get all the documentation you can for those relationships. Birth certificates for children born in the USA, a marriage certificate for a US citizen spouse, or a parent’s permanent resident cared (green card) could help prove the relationship.

4. Copies of any court records from criminal cases

If the person was a defendant in a criminal case–even if the case was dismissed–it is very important to get copies of the entire court record. Some records are available to copy at the courthouse where the charges were filed. Other records you will have to request from the person’s criminal defense attorney. NOTE: If the person was the victim of a crime, it is still very important to get the records. A victim of a crime that happened in the USA may be eligible for a U visa. Eligibility for a U visa can really help in a deportation defense case!

5. Letters of support from friends, family, and community members

Letters of support are very important in a deportation defense case. They show the court that the person the government is trying to deport has ties to the United States. The letters show that this person has loved ones and others who care for him or her and who will offer support throughout the process.

Final Note: Deportation defense cases are extremely complicated. Gathering the above documentation will help prepare for the case but most people need a lawyer’s help to win a removal (deportation) case.