This is one of the most stressful places for an immigrant to be. There is no reason to go in to an Immigration Court hearing without representation. If you have received a “Notice to Appear” in Immigration Court, or if you have been arrested, it is important to get a lawyer to protect your status and presence here in the United States.
Master calendar and hearings on the merits
If you have to go to Immigration Court and see an Immigration Judge, this means you are in removal proceedings and the government is trying to deport you from the United States. This is a very grave situation and could result in your being forcibly taken away from your family. You must do everything to avoid a removal order!
Many different things can cause you to end up in removal proceedings. The most common way is to be in the United States without permission. If immigration authorities detect you in the United States without permission, whether you entered lawfully and your status has expired or you entered unlawfully, you can be sent to removal proceedings. Another way to end up in here is to get convicted of certain criminal violations. Either way, when you are in removal proceedings, you have to establish that you deserve to stay in the United States.
After you establish that you are eligible for relief at a “master calendar” hearing, the Immigration Judge will schedule you for a final trial – or “hearing on the merits.”
One of the most painful parts of being arrested by immigration authorities is being in immigration detention. Where I work near Chicago there are some really rough immigration detention facilities and my clients are not comfortable there. Not to mention that when the government detains you for immigration reasons, they do not have to detain you in the same county or even the same state where they arrest you.
One of my first responsibilities when you are detained is to determine if you are eligible for a bond. If you are eligible for a bond, meaning you have a relatively clean criminal record and few immigration violations, and the arresting Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) officer has not already given you a bond, I can ask the Immigration Judge for a bond hearing. This is where the Immigration Judge will determine how much you will have to pay to get out of immigration detention and fight your case from home.
Many times, the ICE officer will set an extremely high bond, upwards to $20,000. I can ask the Immigration Judge to lower that bond. Unfortunately, you or someone you know will have to pay 100% of the bond. This is unlike criminal custody when normally you only pay 10% of the bond. For this reason it is very important for you to hire an immigration lawyer to make sure you get a fair bond determination or redetermination, and to present all the factors that are in play, like family and employment ties that will make you want to show up to court.
Board of Immigration Appeals
It is very common for an Immigration Judge to make the wrong decision. The Board of Immigration Appeals is one step above the Immigration Courts. Attorney McLean has had continued success appealing wrongful orders to this appellate court. You only have 30 days to file an appeal with the BIA after receiving a removal order or denial of your motion. If you feel like you have an appeal case, contact Attorney McLean now!