Receiving a notice to appear for a deportation or removal hearing can be frightening. This type of notice means that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security wants to remove you from the U.S. to your home country. Facing this type of proceeding can be very stressful. Understanding what to expect and the steps that you should take can help you to understand your options and potentially find a way to remain in the U.S. legally.
If you have received a notice of removal, contact us to schedule a consultation as soon as possible. You can contact us by clicking on our contact us page and filling out our information.
A notice to appear in a removal proceeding starts the deportation and removal process. This document will order you to appear before an immigration judge on a specific date. This notice will also include other important pieces of information, including the reasons why you are being ordered to appear, how you allegedly violated your immigration status, your right to hire an attorney, and the consequences that you might face if you fail to show up for your hearing. If you receive this type of notice, you must talk to an experienced immigration law attorney as soon as possible for help.
One of the first things that you should do after receiving a notice to appear for removal proceedings is to carefully review the information contained in the letter. Look at the reasons why the government is seeking your removal. Gather any evidence that you might have about the specific allegations, and contact an attorney to schedule an appointment. Your attorney can review all of the information and seek additional documents by making FOIA requests if they are needed. He or she can explain the options that you might have and the different ways that he or she might defend you against removal.
While many people are placed in removal proceedings, not everyone will be ultimately removed from the U.S. The government has the burden of proof to establish your removability. If the government is unable to meet its burden, your removal will not be ordered.
If the government succeeds in meeting its burden of showing that you are removable, the burden will shift to you as the respondent. You will then need to present an affirmative defense or ask for relief from removal. Examples of affirmative defenses to removal include things like qualifying for cancellation of removal, a waiver, or another type of relief. For example, you might qualify for relief through the asylum process if you are in real fear of persecution based on your religion, national origin, political beliefs, or membership in a social group if you were returned to your home country. Your attorney can talk to you about the affirmative defenses and grounds for relief that might be available to you in your case.
The immigration judge must make an objective decision after hearing the arguments that are presented by the government's attorney and your lawyer. Once the judge reaches a decision, he or she will issue a final order that either orders your removal or grants your application for relief.
Your first hearing is called the master calendar hearing. This hearing is held to determine how your case will proceed. You do not need to worry that you will be instantly removed from the U.S. when you walk into this hearing. You do not have to ask to leave the U.S. voluntarily at this hearing. You can instead ask the judge to schedule your case for a full hearing called a merits hearing.
Some people worry that they will be placed in immigration detention when they go to their initial hearings. People who might be placed in immigration detention are those who the government believes will fail to appear for their hearings because of their criminal records. If you do not have these types of issues and appear for your master calendar hearing, it is unlikely that you will be detained.
You should retain an immigration attorney before your master calendar hearing. Your attorney can address the charges that are listed in your notice to appear. If you admit the charges in your notice to appear, the judge will question whether you want to seek affirmative relief from your removal. Having an attorney present with you at the master calendar hearing can help to make certain that the process is handled properly and to challenge whether the government has met its burden. Your attorney can also determine whether you have grounds to assert a request for relief from removal. If you do assert your eligibility for relief, the judge will give you different deadlines to submit evidence and documents, and he or she will schedule a hearing on the merits of your case.
If you do not show up for your master calendar hearing, the government's attorney will try to establish that you were served with the notice. If the government can establish that you were served with the notice of the hearing, the immigration judge will issue a final order of removal in absentia. You do not want to have a final order of removal issued in your case. If you do, you might have to wait for 10 years before you can receive relief from removal. Make sure to show up for all of your hearings, and keep the court informed of your current phone number and address at all times. Hiring a lawyer can help you to make certain to meet your deadlines and attend all of your scheduled appearances.
At the merits hearing, you and the government will have the chance to present each of your cases. You should expect to testify and to potentially call witnesses. Your attorney will have already submitted different exhibits and documents. You can also submit additional documents in court if they were not previously available.
One of the most important steps to take when you receive a notice to appear for removal is to hire an attorney. You should choose a lawyer who focuses his or her practice exclusively in the area of immigration law. Your attorney should be someone you trust and can communicate with well. Our experienced immigration lawyers understand how stressful removal proceedings can be for our clients, and we work hard to secure the most favorable outcomes for our clients as possible.
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