Is immigration court the same as criminal court?
No. Immigration courts are special courts that exist within the Department of Justice. Unlike criminal courts, which are part of the judicial branch of government, immigration courts are part of the executive branch. The fundamental responsibility of immigration courts is to evaluate the cases of individuals in deportation proceedings to determine if they should be sent back to their home country, or if they are in fact eligible for some form of immigration benefit. Immigration court proceedings have their own rules and substantive body of law. These rules and laws are different from criminal law, but do take into account the severity of any criminal convictions. If you find yourself summoned to appear before an immigration court, it is critical that you find a lawyer with expertise in immigration law.