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In some situations, immigrants to the United States may be deported if they are found to be there illegally. The immigration removal process typically begins when the Department of Homeland Security issues a Notice to Appear, or NTA. An NTA can be mailed or delivered in person by an immigration officer, and it contains essential information about the removal proceedings. Several different kinds of hearings may be scheduled as part of the process, including individual hearings, bond redetermination hearings and rescission hearings, each of which serves a very specific purpose.
This document is usually fairly brief, consisting of only a page or two. However, the information that it contains is extremely important to the removal process:
During removal proceedings, individuals or their attorneys will have to admit or deny the factual allegations and charges laid out in the Notice to Appear.
The first hearing for many immigration removal cases is the master calendar hearing. This hearing is generally brief. Multiple master calendar hearings will be scheduled for a specific time block, and each individual case will be called one-by-one to answer a few questions. After these questions have been answered, the judge or government immigration attorney will set dates for future document deadlines or hearings. In general, no witnesses will be called during such a hearing, and no rulings regarding legal issues will be made.
Things that come up at a master calendar hearing include:
An individual who fails to appear for the master calendar hearing may be deported in absentia, which makes it incredibly important to be on time.
The deportation trial is called an individual hearing, and it functions very similarly to other kinds of trials. Attorneys will make opening and closing statements, call witnesses and prepare exhibits of evidence. The defendant in these cases may hire an immigration attorney, but one will not be provided by the court.
During the trial, the Department of Homeland Security must prove that the individual on trial is removable from the United States.
Several kinds of specific court dates can also be part of the removal process. Not all of them are relevant for every immigration case, however.
In some cases, people who have been arrested based on immigration status can be released on bond, a payment that is forfeited if they fail to appear for court dates. Initially, the amounts of these bonds are set by the Department of Homeland Security. However, these individuals may request a bond redetermination in order to have a judge re-evaluate the amount.
This hearing determines whether the Immigration and Nationality Act or the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment applies to an individual who has been ordered to be removed from the United States. If so, the person may be eligible for withholding of removal. A higher standard is generally required for withholding than for asylum.
These hearings apply in cases where someone may have been improperly granted lawful permanent resident status, and the outcome may be that the status becomes revoked.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified immigration lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local immigration attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.