Immigrant Facing Deportation?

This video features Cory Forman, an Immigration Law attorney based in New York.

New York Immigration Attorney Helps Detained Immigrants 

Video Transcript:

Cory Forman:

Hire a lawyer, so the lawyer can contact the deportation officer, contact ICE, find out what the basis of them being detained is.

Rob Rosenthal:

If you or someone you know is facing deportation, what can you do about it? Well, that's what we're gonna find out right now, because that's what we're going to ask on this episode of Ask the Lawyer. Hi again, everybody. I'm Rob Rosenthal with AskTheLawyers.com, and my guest is New York City Attorney Cory Forman. And I wanna remind you right off the top, if you wanna ask Cory questions of your own, just go to AskTheLawyers.com, click the button at the top of the page says Ask a Lawyer, or you can just call the phone number on the screen. Cory it's good to see again. Thank you for helping us out.

Cory Forman:

Great seeing you too, Rob, thanks for having me. 

Rob Rosenthal:

So let's just talk a little bit about... You've had some experience, I suppose, with helping people that have been detained by immigration officials or may be facing deportation, tell me a little bit about how much experience you have in that area.

Cory Forman:

Yeah, I've been... Well, I started out as a criminal defense attorney and then that was since really 2000, and then 2006-2007, I started focusing on representing non-citizens and people detained in immigration, but also by criminal, but have collateral consequences that because they're not citizens, they face some extra consequences more significant consequences, they'll often wind up from a criminal prison into an immigration, and their problems morph from just not only criminal problems, but even when the criminal cases involved is over, they could wind up with deportation proceedings issued against them, so that's where my bread and butter is.

Rob Rosenthal:

Let's dive a little bit deeper into that and what can be done first off, someone is facing criminal charges or is being charged of crime, facing deportation, and what are some of the more common things that happen that might cause them to have some issues there?

Cory Forman:

Well, what could be done? There's two major questions you're always gonna ask in any removal preceding: is the individual removable or better known as deportable from the country, and is there a way to defend against that charge? Most of the time, not always, but most of the time, the answer to that question is gonna be yes, and the second question is, Well, are they eligible for relief, is there any mechanism by which they could stay in the United States lawfully? And that really depends on a lot of factors, the first being, what is their current status? How did they enter the United States? Do they have any eligibility for relief, are there any things that disqualify them? So that's the analysis. And obviously, the first and foremost question that a lot of families are gonna ask me is, Can the person get out to deal with this or do they have to remain in custody? And really, someone could wind up in deportation proceedings for a whole variety of reasons, legal residents can that have committed certain crimes, people could wind up in proceedings just by virtue of the fact that they've overstayed a visa or they entered unlawfully, or they've committed another immigration violation, so there's a whole lot of reasons why someone could wind up in proceedings and again, it all really, it depends on the circumstances.

Rob Rosenthal:

And to that question that you said, you get asked about, Can they fight this, get out to fight it, or they have to be detained, does that depend on the case?

Cory Forman:

Well, again, two components, the immigration law does have a, what I feel is a draconian aspect of it called mandatory detention, meaning there are some violations, mostly related to certain criminal offenses, that even if a judge or an immigration adjudicator wanted to issue the person a bond or let them post the bail, the law prohibits from doing that, so they must remain in custody. If they don't fall under mandatory detention, it becomes a discretionary analysis, sometimes the person's deportation officer could choose to release them once they process the case, tell them to come back to court. Other times you have to ask a judge for a bond hearing, the government's gonna contest bond, and you have a hearing where the positive and negative equities are looked at, the likelihood of the person returning the court has looked at and they'll make a determination. And if you get denied bond, you could appeal, but it really, again, the first question is, is the person eligible for bond, and a lot of people are not much more so than you would think, especially compared to the criminal system.

Rob Rosenthal:

You mentioned, say being charged of unlawfully over-staying a visa. Is that a criminal charge, and then what can be done in those cases?

Cory Forman:

No, unlawfully... This comes up a lot in my practice. Unlawful over-stay is not a criminal charge, it is though an immigration violation, so it does subject somebody to removal. Now, is that person a priority? Now, no. Before the election, yes. That's very, very administration-dependent. Every presidential administration will have a list of priorities. Under the Trump administration, there was no priority, everybody was a priority, they didn't delegate between them. Under this current administration, there's different levels, so merely overstaying a visa is not gonna be the highest level of priority, but it is still a deportable immigration civil violation. And the reason why it comes up a lot in my practice is I'll get a lot of questions 'cause from other criminal defense attorneys who call on us about, well is this person deportable if they plead to a certain offense that's overstayed a visa? Well, they're deported by virtue of the fact that they've overstayed a visa. The criminal offense is really how significant that's gonna be in their ultimate removal proceeding is a separate question.

Rob Rosenthal:

So we started off the whole thing, Cory, by... I asked, What do you do if you say you have a loved one that has been detained and is facing deportation, what's the process? What do you do? Take us there. What's the first step? Well.

Cory Forman:

The first part is obviously a hire a lawyer, so the lawyer can contact the deportation officer, contact ICE, find out what the basis of them being detained is. Often, it's very difficult, unfortunately, to track down where the individual is taken. It's not like with the criminal practice where you know they're gonna go to a certain local jail, you have no idea where they're gonna wind up. Here in New York, they'll wind up at one place for processing, but what jail they wind up, you don't know. So the sooner or lawyers involved, they could track down that information and then you wanna go visit with the person if they're detained. If they're not detained and they're ultimately released four, five, six hours, you wanna schedule an appointment for the loved one to come and meet with an attorney, but before they do any talking or really to cut off any of the conversations that they're gonna have with government officials, just like in the criminal world, they should be retaining a lawyer to at least work as a liaison, if not an advocate for them.

Rob Rosenthal:

It's just a few times that we've spoken Cory, I can tell this whole immigration process, and especially when you figure in the criminal process with it, it's very complicated, having someone like yourself who is able to do both and navigate through both is so important, and then you're thrown dealing with the government on top of that, it just seems like having somebody like yourself who can handle all that is, it's not the kind of thing somebody can handle on their own.

Cory Forman:

Well, no, I mean, look, our job is to help people navigate an incredibly complex ocean. There's a lot of obstacles in that ocean, and it takes years and years and years of experience to figure out how to do that, who to talk to, who are the people that you speak to, what the person's rights are, and it's unrealistic to expect someone who's not, not educated but not educated in specific area to know that, which is why we get calls from lawyers all over the country in many practice areas that just don't do this work, knowing it's highly specialized that bring us on board for their cases, if one of their clients in another matter happens to have an immigrate-related issue.

Rob Rosenthal:

Fascinating information is always good to talk to you, Cory, thank you for making some time to answer our questions.

Cory Forman:

My pleasure, Rob, thank you.

Rob Rosenthal:

That's gonna do it for this episode of Ask the Lawyer. My guest has been New York City attorney Cory Forman. And to remind you, if you'd like to ask questions about your specific situation, go to AskTheLawyers.com, there's a button at the top of the page says Ask a Lawyer, you can ask your question right there, or you just call the phone number on the screen. Thanks for watching, everybody. I'm Rob Rosenthal with Ask the Lawyers.

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