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Receiving a Notice to Appear: Now what happens?

A fear of the unknown when facing deportation is unsettling and frightening. Having to stay in a detention center, awaiting a hearing, only adds to this overall sense of fear too. It is normal to question what the future holds. Will I end up having to leave? When will I see my family? Will I ever be able to come back to the U.S.? These are all just some of the many questions that tend to run through one's mind when facing detention, deportation or removal.

At Mark A. Perez, P.C., we work with individuals in Texas who are facing deportation or removal. We work with those in detention centers, as well as their families. We look at all possible options for legally staying in the U.S. after someone receives a Notice to Appear before an immigration judge.

The entire removal process is not only scary, but also rather confusing. The process is entirely dependent on the circumstances surrounding the notice. In this post, we hope to shed some light on the basics. Here are a few things to know:

Reasons for removal vary: From staying on an expired visa to criminal accusations, there are a number of reasons why someone in the U.S. could end up facing deportation or removal. Individuals should work with an attorney no matter what the reason for the court proceeding is.

A removal notice is not the end of the road: A Notice to Appear is just the beginning. From here, the next step -- aside from hiring an attorney -- is a removal hearing. This will determine next steps. Know that there is no one-size-fits-all. While some people could end up receiving just one master hearing to determine removal, others will require numerous hearings, which will include opening statements, witness accounts and evidence.

Now may be the time to adjust your status: Depending on the circumstances, an attorney may be able to pursue an adjustment of status. This is when someone becomes a permanent resident without having to leave the U.S.

The biggest thing to remember is that if you are facing deportation or removal  -- you are not alone. However, one must act quickly, as the Department of Homeland Security takes these issues very seriously. The sooner you reach out to an attorney, the sooner you have someone on your side, looking out for your best interests.

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