What to Expect During Removal Proceedings: A Step-by-Step Overview

What to Expect During Removal Proceedings: A Step-by-Step Overview

It can be scary to learn that you might not be allowed to remain in the United States as an immigrant based upon a violation or crime you have committed. However, if you do end up in the midst of removal proceedings, there are specific steps that you can expect to happen. Today we’re going to review what a deportation hearing looks like so that you are aware of your rights and know what you should and shouldn’t do. Initial Notification: The Notice to Appear If the Department of Homeland Security believes that you are “removable” from the United States, it will file a Notice to Appear with an immigration court. You will receive a copy of this letter either in person or in the mail. This notice will detail where and when your hearing will take place, and will also include the allegations and charges that the DHS has against you. Your First Hearing Several hearings might take place during your deportation case, and the first one is called the “master calendar hearing.” This meeting is crucial; if you do not show up, you will automatically be ordered deported in your absence without any chance for a defense. You might be asked to sign documents that require you to depart without having a hearing, but this initial meeting is where you should state your case explaining why you should remain in the United States - specifically it is when you answer to the allegations and charges in the Notice to Appear. Though not required, it is strongly recommended to have legal representation at this hearing. At the end of the hearing you will be scheduled for your merits or individual hearing. The Application In order to stay in the United States, you may need to prepare and submit an application to the judge. This will include all the evidence, declarations and legal forms to show that you are eligible for the type of immigration relief that you are requesting. The Merits Hearing This second meeting is your opportunity to present your full case to the judge. Whether you will be claiming asylum or another application, it’s up to you to prove your case. You will be asked questions by your attorney, by DHS officials and the judge, and you also have the opportunity to present evidence in your defense. A merits hearing can take a long period of time, but it will conclude once the judge has reached a decision. If it has been proven that you should remain in the country, you will be able to do so. If the ruling is for your deportation, you will be required to leave once your time period for appeal is over. Should you choose to appeal the decision, the Board of Immigration Appeals can hear your case. If your loved one is facing the prospect of being deported, please call Landerholm Immigration today. We can answer your questions and assist during the removal proceedings to make sure a fair decision is made. For more information on removal defense, please download our free e-book: There is Hope! Your Guide to Winning in Immigration Court.
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