Comprehensive defense in removal proceedings.

U.S. ICE may initiate removal (deportation) proceedings by filing a Notice to Appear with the U.S. immigration court and serving it to you.

If you were placed into proceedings, there will be a record available by phone at 1-800-898-7180. However, this is an automated line, and you must have your nine-digit alien identification number in order to obtain any information.

It is also possible to request your records from the courts through the Freedom of Information Act or, if the case is currently in court, you can request to review the record there. All of these steps can be taken by your attorney as well, and are standard practices within our office.

The first, preliminary hearings are referred to as “master calendar” hearings at which you must plead to the charges or seek to have them effectively dismissed. If the charges are not dismissed, you must identify any forms of relief (protection from removal).

If you do not appear, an order of removal may be issued. Once that order becomes final, you may be detained and physically removed from the United States.

If ICE is able to establish the charges, you can still prevent a removal order being issued by successfully establishing a form of relief. In these instances, the judge operates in a similar manner to an officer from USCIS by reviewing applications at the final “individual” hearing.

Common forms of relief include (among others) applying for waivers of removability, cancellation of removal, asylum, withholding of removal, deferral of removal under the U.N. Convention against Torture, and Voluntary Departure.

You can also apply for some of the same immigration benefits before the judge that you would before USCIS, such as adjustment of status. My office has successfully represented individuals in each of these circumstances, as well as in having charges dismissed, and will carefully consider your eligibility for, and the appropriateness, of any of the above during the consulting process.

Aside from establishing basic eligibility for the form of relief, you must overcome the objections of U.S. ICE, who are represented by an attorney from their Office of the Chief Counsel. Removal proceedings are therefore adversarial, and it is strongly advised that you obtain a trusted, competent attorney to represent you at the earliest stage possible.

Unlike criminal proceedings, there is no right to have an attorney provided in immigration proceedings. You must therefore seek to have an attorney represent you at own expense. Certain organizations do, however, provide pro bono representation, and their contact information is provided at the courts and when you are served the charging documents. If you do not have this information, you can ask the immigration judge or the clerk at the court.

We know what is at stake for people in removal proceedings, and the mental and financial tolls that families are subject to during these times. We will carefully assess your needs and provide you the information and flexibility that you need to give you the best chance of success.

We  will take into consideration all relevant facts relating to your history and your present case, with each potential form of relief evaluated for desirability in terms of likelihood of success, the practical and financial burdens involved with making each claim, timeframes, collateral issues such as detention and eligibility for other future immigration benefits.


Matthew has been helping my husband and I out for a whole 3 years now. We are extremely grateful for his dedication and hard work.

His confidence in his work and patience with his clients is like none you’ve never seen before.

Since the first consultation Matthew gave me the assurance I needed to leave it in his hands to resolve our issues, and sure enough he didn’t let us down!

I recommend Mr. Blaisdell 100% !

– Melanie