If you are presented with an NTA which is a Notice To Appear, you’ll be expected to at an immigration hearing before a judge, who will ultimately decide whether or not you will be deported from the United States. To find out exactly what happens during a deportation trial, simply continue reading. Especially if you’d like to ensure that you have all the information which you’ll need in order to increase your chances of being allowed to remain in the US.
Things That Happen During A Deportation Hearing
During The First Hearing
At the first hearing which may also be referred to as the master calendar hearing, the judge will explain the charge against you in basic, easy to understand terms. So you won’t have to worry about deciphering complex legal jargon. Once the judge has explained the charge against you, you’ll have an opportunity to defend yourself.
At this point in time, you’ll be able to provide documents or call witnesses to the stand that can provide sufficient evidence that the charge against you is false and that you do have a legal right to remain in the United States. If you don’t have the evidence which you require on hand, you can describe this evidence to the judge, as long as you will be able to procure it for the immigration court after your first hearing. In most cases, you should bring this supplemental evidence to your upcoming merits hearing. So there’s no need to stress if you still have to acquire additional evidence to support your case.
After you have had a chance to defend yourself, the presiding judge will work their way through a series of questions, which will give them an overall context of your immigration case. For example, expect to be asked if you have any prior convictions, what year you entered the country, and whether you have a spouse or a parent who is a US citizen.
During your first hearing, you’ll have the opportunity to apply for voluntary removal if you don’t think that you’ll be able to provide sufficient evidence to avoid deportation. If you accept voluntary removal, your record won’t feature a deportation order and you’ll find it much easier to reenter the United States in the future. However, if your request for voluntary removal is accepted, you’ll be expected to pay for your tickets back to your country of origin. The main benefit of applying for voluntary removal is that you should only be barred from reentering the United States for a relatively short period of time such as 5 years. Whereas if you wait to be deported, you may have to wait 10 or 20 years before you’re allowed to return to the US.
Also note, that during your first immigration hearing, the judge will ensure that you are fully aware of the penalties which you’ll face if you don’t turn up to any of your hearings. During your first hearing, you’ll be required to agree to the consequences which you’ll face if you miss your next hearing.
During The Merits Hearing
If you choose to hire an experienced immigration attorney, they will be able to present your defense during your merits hearing. Depending on your attorney’s strategy for your defense they may ask you to testify in court and will ask you a series of questions that are designed to prove your evidence. However, just as your own attorney will be able to ask you a series of questions, you’ll also have to answer a series of questions from the prosecution. Who will try to prove that you don’t have a legal right to remain in the United States.
In order to strengthen your defense, you’ll also be able to provide further evidence which can prove your right to remain in the US. Examples of which may include testimonies from trustworthy witnesses and sworn statements from individuals who can attest to the legitimacy of your right to remain in the United States. You can even bring in experts, who can help your case.
As an example, if your strategy to avoid deportation is to seek permanent asylum you’ll need to provide evidence that it would be unsafe to return to your country of origin. As well as proof that you belong to a group that is actively persecuted in your home country.
The Meaning Of Being Handed A Bag & A Baggage Notice
If after at least two immigration hearings, the judge which has been assigned to deliberate over your immigration case, gives you a bag and baggage notice, they have decided to process your deportation. On your bag and baggage notice, you’ll be provided details of the venue which you’ll need to turn up at, on the scheduled day of your deportation. Failure to turn up to this venue at the scheduled date and time will result in members of ICE being assigned to track you down and forcibly remove you. ICE takes deportation seriously and ICE agents can and will check your home, workplace, and the homes of your associates in order to try and track you down.
Appealing The Judge’s Decision
There is the possibility that you will be able to fill out a form to reopen your case if you feel that the judge made a decision that did not take the evidence you provided into account and came to an incorrect conclusion. You can even appeal to reopen your case if you find groundbreaking evidence after your merits hearing.
You Could Still Be Detained Before Your First Hearing
If you are not a legal resident and don’t hold a green card and are caught illegally residing in the US, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Division may decide to send you to one of the many detention centers that are located throughout the United States. Even if you are sent to a detention center, you may have the option of posting bail, which will allow you to wait for your immigration hearing outside of a detention center. Just keep in mind that you or a trusted individual will need to be able to pay a sizable sum, in order to release you from your detention center.
If you want to do your utmost best to defend yourself in an upcoming immigration hearing, it’s well worth turning up to each scheduled hearing with an appointed attorney and a defense strategy. In order to increase your chances of being allowed to stay in the US.
Crimes That Make You Deportable