What Is the Process for U.S. Immigration Removal Hearings? | Chicago Immigration Attorney
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What Is the Process for U.S. Immigration Removal Hearings?

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IL immigration lawyerThe topic of immigration has been in the news a lot lately, especially with this administration’s proposed changes at the U.S./Mexico border. Regardless of any new legislation, the U.S. immigration process can be confusing and intimidating to people who wish to enter the United States. However, the procedures and regulations are necessary to make sure immigrants enter legally. If people from another country are in the United States illegally, they face removal (deportation) hearings. These cases could take months or even years to reach a resolution. That is why it is important to speak to an attorney who has experience in handling immigration court proceedings.

Court Proceedings

Removal or deportation proceedings begin when the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency issues a “Notice to Appear” (NTA). The NTA is a formal document against a person (respondent) because he or she entered or is present in the United States without authorization. The NTA lists the specific legal reasons why authorities believe that you are in the country unlawfully. It also serves as notification that you will be scheduled for immigration proceedings in the immigration court. Depending on how busy the court system is, the first hearing may not be for months. However, if someone has been detained by immigration officials, the hearing will take place as soon as possible.

Immigration proceedings occur in three stages:

  • Initial hearings, also referred to as master calendar hearings (MCH)
  • Individual hearings, sometimes called merit hearings
  • Post-hearing proceedings for persons granted relief or for orders of removal or voluntary departure

During the MCH, the respondent (as well as the ICE attorney) can address any initial issues in the case. At this stage, the respondent can also challenge the accusations from the NTA in an attempt to stop proceedings entirely. If there are no further issues to review, the individual hearing will be scheduled.

In the individual hearing, the court examines the case to determine whether the respondent is entitled to any forms of relief from removal and whether or not he or she will be allowed to remain in the United States. After any evidence has been shown, witnesses have testified, and the legal arguments have been made, the immigration judge will decide whether the respondent should be removed from the United States.

A respondent can challenge the immigration judge’s decision through a motion to reopen or a motion to reconsider made to the court, or through an appeal directly to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). The appeals process can drag on, but a diligent immigration lawyer can help you navigate it to achieve a successful outcome.

Contact an Illinois Immigration Attorney

Immigrating to the United States from another country can have its obstacles. It is imperative to have the proper paperwork and documentation in order; otherwise, an individual can face deportation. Every immigration case is unique, but there are standard procedures in place regarding court proceedings. If you or a loved one is facing challenges as an immigrant, you need to seek professional legal advice. Our tenacious Illinois immigration lawyers can guide you through the process to ultimately obtain U.S. citizenship. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 630-932-9100.




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