Yes, they can. That’s a difference between immigration lawyers and other attorneys: Immigration law is Federal in scope and so immigration attorneys can practice nationally.
If you’re in the deportation process already, it is more akin to a criminal proceeding than to the purely administrative process where people are applying for their green cards or naturalization. Because it is like a criminal proceeding, generally it is in the best interest of the client to find an attorney who has the ability to appear with you in court, not only because it’s important that the attorney be with them in court.
It is advantageous because part of the preparation of all of their defenses to removal requires a lot of local legwork, such as building witness testimony, meeting with family members, providing document review, whatever is needed to show the positive equities of your case. Your attorney may need to work with those people who will need to attend the hearing in San Francisco versus Texas.
Is it better to select a local attorney who is familiar with the local immigration court system?
Yes, there may definitely be some benefit to having an attorney who is familiar with local rules in many situations but not in all situations.
Whether it be criminal proceedings or civil proceedings, it is always best to have the person be familiar with the local office. They are familiar with that office’s priorities. For example, a judge or ICE attorney in one office may have a difference of opinions on how the laws are interpreted.