Getting a notice to go to immigration court or hearing that a friend or family member is detained and must go to immigration court can be scary, stressful, and overwhelming. There are generally three reasons people can find themselves before an immigration judge:
- The government does not believe the person has authorization to be in the United States;
- The government believes the person did or experienced something that warrants taking away their authorization to be in the United States; or
- The person arrived at a U.S. port of entry and told a Customs and Border Patrol officer that they were too afraid to go home.
Many, many people have immigration court cases and there are a limited number of judges in a limited number of courts. There are two groups of people who have cases in immigration court (“respondents”): respondents who are detained and respondents who are not. Cases for detainees tend to move much more quickly and may be done, from start to finish, in a matter of months. It may take years to finish a case for a respondent who is not detained.
Over the course of a case, a respondent may have one or more bond hearings, appear at procedural hearings called “master calendar hearings”, and prove their case at a merits hearing called an “individual” hearing. Depending on the respondent’s options for relief – that is, how they can fight their case – they may need to prepare and submit applications or other materials to the government, including briefs explaining why their arguments are legally correct; get their fingerprints taken; or ask for more time from the court. Sometimes fighting a case in immigration court can mean working with a number of different federal agencies to get the desired outcome and meeting several different deadlines. We work with clients in immigration courts throughout the southeast to navigate this system and find any available solutions to their cases.
If you or someone you love needs help with an immigration court case, call today for a consultation. We can help you understand any available options and explain the process of presenting your particular case before an immigration judge.