Living in the United States is a dream come true for many non-citizens. Whether you have come to the United States for vacation, for employment, or for education (among other reasons), you have taken a leap of faith by leaving your home country. While the United States is a diverse melting pot that welcomes immigrants from all over the world, if it is determined that you have entered the United States without authorization, or if you have remained in the United States without authorization, you may be deemed removable and subject to hearings before the Executive Office of Immigration Review, also known as Immigration Court.
The entire Immigration Court process can take anywhere from a few months to a few years or even longer to resolve. Everything depends upon the particular circumstances of your case and if you or the government will appeal an immigration judge’s final decision on your immigration matter.
Overview of the Immigration Court Process
If United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines that you may be living in the United States illegally (i.e., without authorization), you will receive what is called a “Notice to Appear” before Immigration Court. This is essentially a formal notice that USCIS believes you are not present in the United States lawfully. Because Immigration Court is so busy, you may not know exactly when your hearing will be at the time you receive the Notice to Appear. You will likely receive a follow-up notice with the exact date and time of your initial hearing.
Many individuals who receive a Notice to Appear are not immediately subject to detention. However, in some cases, immigration authorities may locate you and detain you while your case is pending in Immigration Court. If you are not detained and are simply ordered to appear at a hearing before the Immigration Court, it is imperative that you do not miss the hearing.
The initial hearing is called the “Master Calendar Hearing,” and this hearing lasts about fifteen minutes. This hearing is intended to address the basic facts at issue with your case so that the judge has a general idea of why immigration authorities believe you are present in the United States unlawfully. If you miss your initial hearing, you may be forfeiting the ability to obtain relief that will allow you to remain in the United States lawfully.
The second hearing you will have to be present for is your individual hearing. This hearing is more detailed than the initial master calendar hearing. The immigration judge will determine if there may be any grounds for immigration relief that would allow you to remain in the United States lawfully. At this hearing, you will be able to present evidence that supports your case as to why you should remain in the United States, in addition to witness testimony. After the individual, in-depth hearing has concluded, the immigration judge will make a final decision.
Both you and the government have the right to appeal the immigration court’s decision. This process can take a very long time and can be very stressful. It could take months or years to be resolved. You will either be allowed to remain in the United States lawfully, or you may be required to leave the United States. You may also have the ability to apply for asylum if your particular circumstances meet certain requirements. In order to better understand what happens with Immigration Court proceedings, you should consider consulting with an experienced immigration attorney who can provide you with the guidance you need to fight for your ability to remain in the United States.
Contact the Immigration Attorneys of Geygan & Geygan, Ltd. Today to Schedule a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one is facing removal proceedings or other immigration-related proceedings before the Immigration Court, it is essential that you seek the advice and counsel of a qualified immigration attorney as soon as possible. Having an attorney by your side through a difficult process can help to ensure you are doing everything you can to seek a positive outcome to your immigration proceeding. The dedicated immigration attorneys of Geygan & Geygan, Ltd. devote their practice to helping individuals overcome challenges and obstacles to their desire to lawfully live and remain in the United States. Allow our attorneys to help you with a very difficult and stressful situation. Contact Geygan & Geygan, Ltd. today to schedule a free consultation with one of our immigration attorneys. You may reach us by calling (513) 791-1673.