Below are some of the questions related to removal proceedings (previously known as deportation proceedings) that have been addressed to our experienced Denver deportation defense lawyers. We have provided general responses that may vary given individual circumstances. You are strongly advised to consult with an immigration attorney who is experienced in removal defense if you have been issued a Notice to Appear. Here you will find more information about the process in immigration court.
How many court hearings do you get?
Some immigrants have only one hearing before the immigration judge. In other situations, an immigrant may have six or more hearings over several years.
In immigration court, there are generally two types of hearings. These are referred to as "Master Calendar" hearings and "Individual" hearings. In some cases, "status" hearings are also scheduled. Your very first hearing will be a "Master Calendar" hearing. Generally, many immigrants are scheduled for Master Calendar hearings at the same time. Each immigrant is called up separately.
The immigration judge may decide to grant a continuance to an immigrant if he or she requests more time to find an immigration attorney, but the immigration judge will not grant an unlimited number of such continuances.
At a master calendar, the immigrant will be asked to admit or deny the allegations and charges in the Notice to Appear. If the immigrant denies the allegations, often the immigration judge will schedule the immigrant for a contested removal hearing where the government will have the opportunity to prove the allegations against the immigrant. However, sometimes immigration judges conduct the contested removal hearing right then and there. If the immigrant admits or the government proves the allegations and charges, the immigration judge will generally make a finding that the immigrant is removable. Then, the judge will schedule him or her for an "Individual" hearing where the immigrant can present his or her case for relief from removal, if the immigrant is eligible for some relief from deportation.
How long is the individual hearing?
An individual hearing may be scheduled for a contested removal or for the immigrant to present his or her case for relief from removal. For an adjustment of status, the individual hearing may take less than thirty minutes. For a complicated case of contested removal and several forms of relief, the case may take multiple days. Most individual hearings take from 1 to 4 hours, depending on the type of case and the number of witnesses.
How long does it take to get a notice to appear for immigration court?
That depends on how fast the Department of Homeland Security takes action and follows through. Sometimes this can be a matter of weeks and sometimes months. If you know your alien registration number you can check if the Notice to Appear has been filed with the immigration court by phoning the toll free EOIR number at 1-800-898-7180.
Are the immigration judges in Colorado very tough?
In general, we have a good group of immigration judges in Colorado. Each individual immigration judge has his or her own strengths and weaknesses. Colorado deportation defense lawyers may prefer one particular judge for a particular type of immigration case and another judge for a different type of case. However, nobody gets to pick his or her judge. Your case will be assigned to an immigration judge and, except in exceptional cases, that assignment will not change.
Can an immigration judge terminate proceedings?
Yes an immigration judge can terminate proceedings when it is proven that you are not subject to removal or deportation. Although it is infrequent, our immigration law firm has had several cases over the years where individuals who were actually United States citizens had been placed in immigration proceedings. When their citizenship was proven, the immigration judge terminated proceedings. There are also cases where the government overstates the immigration severity of the of an immigrant's criminal convictions. If your immigration lawyer proves that your criminal convictions do not make you subject to removal, the immigration judge will terminate proceedings.
What does it mean "to admit and concede removability"?
The Notice to Appear states several factual allegations against you. Then it states that based on those allegations, you are subject to removal based on a section of the United States immigration law. If all the factual allegations are true and accurate and if those allegations do support the charge of removability, you or your Colorado immigration lawyer may admit the factual allegations and agree that based on those allegations you are subject to deportation. That is to admit and concede.
This is generally done when you are eligible for relief from removal. That way the court can move on to considering your request for relief from removal, such as cancellation of removal, asylum, adjustment of status,. . .
Am I allowed to contest a factual allegation in immigration court?
Absolutely. . You or your immigration lawyer may contest all allegations and force the government to meet its burden of proof. You may also contest any incorrect allegation.
Can I change my lawyer during the individual hearing?
You can ask, but the decision will be up to the immigration judge. An immigration judge will generally not want the case delayed, unless you have a compelling reason for not being able to go forward with your attorney of record. In most cases you will be expected to change your immigration lawyer prior to an individual hearing.
How do I know if I have been put in removal proceedings?
You or your immigration lawyer will receive a Notice to Appear informing you that you have been placed in removal proceedings. If you know your alien registration number you can check if the Notice to Appear has been filed with the immigration court by phoning the toll free EOIR number at 1-800-898-7180.
How long after the Notice to Appear for removal proceedings do i have to wait for a court date to be established?
If you have been served with a Notice to Appear that says that you will be notified of when and where you are to appear for immigration court, it could take only a few days to as long as six months (perhaps longer, but six months is about the longest I have seen). You must insure that the immigration court has your correct address so that you will receive notice. Failing to appear for your removal hearing usually results in the immigration judge signing an order for your removal.
Will they set a date at an immigration hearing for deportation?
No. The Immigration Judge issues the deportation order but does not execute it. Generally you will receive notice some weeks later directly from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Where can you appeal if an immigration judge denies your case?
The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) has jurisdiction to decide appeals from the immigration court. At the immigration court, you can obtain the form and instructions for filing an appeal of your case.
Our Colorado immigration lawyers are experienced in removal defense and in assisting immigrants obtain and retain legal status. If you have been issued a Notice to Appear, do not delay. Phone our office at 303-442-8554 (Boulder) or 303-557-0725 (Lakewood) to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced removal defense attorneys.
Legal Representation in Immigration Court
The immigration attorneys at Saltrese Faville DeSeguin llc have years of experience representing individuals in removal or deportation proceedings before the Denver immigration court (including the Aurora immigration courts for detained individuals). If you have been notified to go to the immigration court, phone our law office at 303-442-8554 to set up a consultation with one of our resourceful immigration lawyers, who has years of experience defending non-citizens from deportation (called deportation defense or removal defense).
Location of Denver Immigration Court
The Denver Immigration Court is located on the third floor of the Federal Building at 1961 Stout Street, Denver Colorado 80293. You may contact the Denver Immigration Court at 303-844-5815 extension "0" with any questions. With the retirement last year of Immigration Judge David J Cordova, only three immigration judges are employed downtown: Immigration Judge Donn L Livingston, IJ Mimi E Tsankov, and IJ Eileen Trujillo. There are also immigration courtrooms at the immigration detention facility in Aurora, Colorado. The judges for these immigration courts are Immigration Judge James P Vandelo and IJ John W Davis.
If you have been served with a Notice to Appear, it is critical that you insure that the immigration court has your correct address at all times. Immigration Judges do sometimes change the date of your hearing, sometimes moving the date forward by months or sometimes moving it back. A notice will be sent to the most recent address the court has for you. If you not get the notice and therefore do not appear for a scheduled removal hearing at the exact place, date and time, the immigration judge may order you deported from the United States.
Avoid Deportation, seek legal immigration remedies NOW. . . Contact our tough, resourceful immigration attorneys by phone, 303-557-0725 (Lakewood) or 303-442-8554 (Boulder). Our Colorado immigration law office is located in the Highlands neighborhood of Denver, just west of downtown.
Removal Proceedings/Deportation Proceedings
If the Department of Homeland Security has started removal or deportation proceedings against you, it is important that you consult an immigration lawyer. You have the right to have a lawyer to defend you in immigration court, but at no expense to the United States government. Often defenses to deportation and/or forms of relief from deportation are available. The Denver immigration lawyers are experienced in defending noncitizens and immigrants who are placed in removal proceedings and in advocating on your behalf. With you and your family, we will investigate available legal means to avoid deportation or removal.
The charging document (the document that initiates removal proceedings) is called the "Notice to Appear." This notice is prepared by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), served on you, and filed with the Immigration Court. The Notice to Appear generally lists several allegations against you, similar to the following:
- You are not a citizen or national of the United States;
- You are a national of "some country" and a citizen of "some country;"
- You were admitted to the United States on or around "some date" at or near "some place" as a nonimmigrant visitor for pleasure with authorization to remain in the United States for a temporary period not to exceed "that date;"
- You remained in the United States beyond "that date" without authorization.
After the allegations, the Notice to Appear will charge you with being removable (deportable) based on a statute or law from the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), similar to this:
On the basis of the forgoing, it is charged that you are subject to removal from the United States pursuant to the following provisions of law:
Section 237(a)(1)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, in that after admission as a nonimmigrant, you remained in the United States for a time longer than permitted.
The precise factual allegations and the charge(s) in the Notice to Appear are important and should be discussed with an experienced immigration lawyer.
The DHS can and does make mistakes. Any of the allegations may be factually wrong - even the first allegation. If the first allegation is wrong -- if you are, in fact, a United States citizen by law -- then removal proceedings should be terminated. The DHS does not have the right to deport or remove United States citizens. Yes sometimes, even United States citizens are placed in removal proceedings by mistake. Our Colorado immigration lawyers have seen cases where individuals were unaware that they were lawful citizens of the United States. Our experienced immigration lawyers will know what questions to ask to help determine whether you may be a United States citizen based on your family history.
The factual allegations of the date you entered the United States and how you entered the United States can also be critically important. Your eligibility for certain forms of relief from removal or deportation may depend on how long you have been in the United States or how you first entered the United States.
There are times when, even if all the allegations in the NTA are factually correct, those allegations still do not support the legal charge of removability or deportability. The NTA is then legally insufficient to support removal proceedings against you. Your lawyer will argue this to the immigration judge and request that your removal proceedings be stopped or terminated.
Master Calendar Hearing
Your first appearance at immigration court will usually be for a short hearing called a "master calendar." For this hearing, often several individuals will appear at the same time before the same judge. You will be called forward one at a time. If you are ready to proceed, you or your lawyer will plead to the allegations and the charges in the Notice to Appear. You may contest all allegations and charges. If so, the immigration judge will either have a contested removal hearing, then and there, or set another date for you and the government attorney to return to present evidence and argue the case. Sometimes, all the factual allegations and the legal charge of removability are correct, but you have one or more possible avenues of relief that, if successful, will stop your deportation from the United States and provide you with legal status in the United States. In this case, you or your lawyer may admit the allegations, concede removability, and explain to the court the types of relief that apply to your case. The immigration judge will then set another court date for you to return for an "individual" or "merits" hearing. At the master calendar hearing, the immigration judge will also set due dates for submission of your applications, supporting documents and your witness list. Failure to meet the deadlines can result in forfeiture of your rights to relief from removal.
Individual or Merits Hearing
The Individual or Merits hearing is quite different from the master calendar hearing. The court will have scheduled time to hear your case. You may have 1/2 hour or 4 hours depending on the nature of your case, and sometimes even longer. You will have submitted your applications, documents and witness list several weeks in advance of your hearing. At the individual hearing, you will present your case to the immigration judge. You will testify and you may have other witnesses testify for your case. Your immigration lawyer will ask you questions to help guide you through your testimony and to make sure that you do not leave out facts or information that are important for your case. Your lawyer will do the same with your other witnesses. The DHS or government attorney has the right to cross examine you and any of your witness. The government attorney may also present witnesses. If so, you or your attorney have the right to cross examine those government witnesses. Usually, after all the testimony has been presented and the case has been argued, the immigration judge will give an oral decision that same day. Either side has the right to appeal the immigration judge's decision. If the immigration judge grants your case, you will be finished with removal proceedings - unless the government lawyer decides to appeal the decision. If the immigration judge denies your case, you have the right to appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).
Relief from Removal or Deportation
Several forms of relief from removal exist. These include asylum, CAT, withholding, TPS, non-LPR cancellation of removal, LPR cancellation of removal, VAWA cancellation, NACARA, adjustment of status, adjustment of status combined with waivers, nunc pro tunc applications for admission, and voluntary departure. Eligibility for the different avenues of relief are fact based and should be discussed with a knowledgeable immigration lawyer.
If you are facing deportation or removal proceedings, it is extremely important that you consult with an immigration lawyer with experience in deportation defense as early as possible.
You have too much to lose. Don't wait. Avoid Deportation. Seek legal immigration remedies NOW. . . Contact our experienced Denver immigration lawyers at 303-442-8554 or 303-557-0725.
Legal disclaimer: The information on this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. Immigration cases are fact sensitive and you need to discuss your precise situation with a knowledgeable immigration lawyer.