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Proceedings in Immigration Courts: An Overview
Whether you are a lawful permanent resident or a nonimmigrant, having to deal with problems involving deportation, naturalization and green-cards is a challenging experience. Immigration news would often include bulletins on family-based immigration, business immigration, and the latest on a work visa, fiancé visa, and even student visa. Furthermore, those trying to immigrate eventually have to face the Department of Homeland Security, in light of national interest.
If you are having issues with visas and citizenship, it helps to have background information on immigration laws. US citizenship is tied with complicated immigration issues, and visa applications at the national visa center must be taken very seriously. Eventually, you will find the need to consult with reputable law offices. Having someone knowledgeable in immigration policies will help you deal with the immigration process involving your residency, naturalization, visa status, consular processing, or other similar concerns.
As you go through the immigration process, you will eventually find yourself in the immigration court. This article will explore the court proceedings for cases involving citizenship and immigration.
Proceedings involving immigration law begin when an ICE officer serves a Notice to Appear. This document has numbered paragraphs stating the pleadings from DHS, which would essentially inform the judge as to why you should face deportation.
In immigration law practice, at the bottom of the Notice to Appear is a reference to the legal statute related to your case. Immigration attorneys will help you understand this statute vis-à-vis your legal issue. If you are, for example, a permanent resident being deported due to a guilty plea, you will need to know how your conviction and removal statutes will affect your permanent resident status.
Prior to the first hearing, read the paperwork very carefully. Usually, immigrants will not dispute these allegations, but this does not mean you do the same. Any allegation in error must be denied at the first master calendar hearing. The prosecuting attorney must then prove them against your claim.
For citizenship and immigration services, if you opt to contest the legal allegations mentioned, often times the judge will either 1) require the DHS to prove the case during the first master calendar hearing or 2) decide on a new date for a contested master calendar hearing.
Processing time depends on several factors. The number of hearings varies if your case involves immigration and naturalization, green-card, work permit, work visa, or United States citizenship in general. It will also vary if you are undocumented, a foreign national, or have permanent residency or immigration status. Some would have two but others would have six hearings. Following are the typical hearings that will be conducted:
- First master calendar hearing
For this, you are to deny or admit the allegations. If you have not consulted with any immigration lawyers association or law firm, you can request one continuance so you can find legal representation versed in US immigration.
- Second master calendar hearing
As previously stated, if you denied the allegations against you, this would be a contested master calendar hearing. Otherwise, it is during this stage in the immigration proceedings when you are to submit application documents for the relief that you are qualifying for. There are several ways to remain in the US even if it has been proven that you should face deportation. Among these are asylum, cancellation of removal, readjustment of status, T visa, U visa, or voluntary departure, among others.
- Merits hearing
In this trial, you are to present your supporting documents and witnesses that will help your case. The DHS attorney will cross-examine you and the witnesses. The immigration judge will likely ask relevant questions as well.
In case of denial, 30 days is allotted for submitting an appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals, who will either affirm or overturn the decision. If it is the latter, either the requested relief will be granted or the case will be remanded back to the judge for any further proceeding.
The processing times between the first hearing and the last one depends on the location whether you are in detention or in non-detained proceedings. Detained proceedings generally move faster and rarely go beyond four months. On the other hand, given the backlog of cases in the immigration court system, non-detained cases take years to finish. As such, a good immigration lawyer would be necessary.
Getting legal counsel is highly advisable for undocumented immigrants issues, acquisition of an immigration visa, legal permanent resident application, or even alien registration are complicated matters. You may eventually find the need to appear in court for these concerns with an immigration attorney.
Diener Law is an immigration law firm in North Carolina & California with extensive experience in these matters. We have the best immigration lawyers that may assist you with court proceedings as above. Our law office will also help you understand the best way to deal with issues on waivers, adjustment of status, deferred action, removal proceedings, inadmissibility, types of visas, and other specifics of American immigration.
It is important to avail of immigration legal services to know what steps you should take, what documents you should prepare, and what relief you might be eligible for. Contact us now to get an initial free immigration consultation.