IMMIGRATION CONSUMERS’ PROTECTION PROGRAM (“ICPP”)
BY Paul Wickham Schmidt, United States Immigration Judge (Retired)
- Get a lawyer.
- Make sure lawyer is real & reputable.
- Confirm bar admission and check complaints online.
- Firm website should confirm that immigration is a primary area of practice.
- Google published immigration cases and check results.
- Get it in writing.
- In a language you understand.
- If it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t.
- Play to tell the truth.
- With lawyer, court, DHS.
- Keep your appointments with your lawyer.
- Time is money – YOUR money!
- Lawyer needs complete and accurate information to help.
- Show up for all Immigration Court hearings at least 30 minutes early.
- Failing to appear (“FTA”) is the worst possible thing you can do in Immigration Court.
- FTA = Final Order of Removal = Arrest, Detention & Immediate Removal = YOU become “low hanging fruit” for DHS’s “jacked up” removal goals!
- Dress the part.
- No cutoffs, t-shirts, flip-flops, halter-tops, crop tops, underwear showing, muscle shirts, flashy distracting jewelry, “rainbow hair,” shirts with (particularly political) slogans, baseball caps in Immigration Court.
- Dress as you would to go to the funeral of someone you respected.
- Avoid the “Big Five:”
- Domestic violence
- Driving violations of all types.
- OWLs can be a problem and eventually turn into felonies in Virginia!
- That’s what busses, trains, friends, co-workers, bikes, and strong legs are for.
- Keep all documents – originals and at least one copy.
- Never give away originals (unless the judge requires it) or your only copy of a document.
- Pay taxes.
- Stay in school or keep employed.
- Ask questions.
- Insist on an explanation that you understand in a language you understand.
- Don’t sign anything you don’t understand.
- Make sure everything has been translated for you.
- Comply with all court orders.
- Use available resources:
- 1-800 number
- Immigration Court Practice Manual (“ICPM”) (online).
- Don’t forget family and friends.
- They can be some of your best resources.
This outline contains some of the points that I emphasized during my two Spanish-language radio appearances in Richmond, Virginia on Friday, December 8, 2017!