Immigrants residing in the United States that have been noticed of an order to appear for a removal hearing, are facing charges under U.S. immigration law. Preparation for a removal hearing allows a respondent to present their case adequately to the court.
Understanding the Charges
The Notice to Appear (“NTA”), charging documents and Notice of Hearing in Removal Proceedings, serve as the due process for review of immigrants for the charges of removability or inadmissibility. The Notice of Hearing provides the court schedule of the hearing. Subsequent hearing notices must be given to the respondent by the judge.
The Role of the EOIR
The U.S. government initiates removal proceedings to establish removability. If reason is provided to the Executive Office of Immigration Review (“EOIR”) Office of the Immigration Court, yet is not substantiated by adequate evidence, no removal will be affirmed. If it is affirmed that the respondent should be removed from the country, the burden of affirmative defense or request for relief is on the latter.
If a respondent qualifies for a cancellation of removal, waiver, or is eligible for relief such as asylum, an immigration judge may decide to sustain the request. In cases where the judge issues a final order for removal, or instead decides to grant relief as result of respondent application for relief from removal based on consideration evidence, the respondent must comply.
As long as the government can establish that you were served with the NTA and notice of the hearing, not showing up will result in the immigration judge issuing a final order of removal in your case. The ordered is issued “in absentia,” meaning according to the judge’s power to order you removed from the U.S. in your absence.
For obvious reasons, the receipt of an order of removal can cause serious interruption to the life of a respondent. The circumstances surrounding a court order of removal can result in deportation of the respondent to their home state. Those request for relief denied by the EOIR Office of Immigration Court, may not reapply for a period of ten years.
Respondents unable to attend a scheduled removal hearings should contact their immigration officer immediately. It is recommended that all scheduled hearings be attended by respondents contacted for reporting, and that the court be informed of current contact information at all times. Representation by an experienced immigration attorney will ensure that all court dates and filing deadlines be met as scheduled.
Merits Hearing Proceedings
Attendance at merits hearings by respondents establishes official record of consent to testify on their own behalf, in front of the judge. Witnesses may also be present. Respondents involved in merits hearings have submitted supporting documents and exhibits as evidence to the case. Evidentiary proceedings as part of the merit hearings, may influence the decision by the EOIR Office of Immigration if it is proven that the respondent is eligible to remain in the country based on a record of character.